Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., on Friday said that the growing backlog of diplomatic nominees and the approval process is “wrong,” and he signaled that he would support changing the rules to allow the Senate to vote on multiple nominees at once, CNN reports.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has objected to quick votes to confirm dozens of President Joe Biden’s ambassador nominees, meaning the Senate may be forced to devote a great deal of time towards voting to confirm each nominee.
Cruz told CNN that his blockade is an effort to force the administration to “impose the sanctions on Nord Stream 2 that are required by federal law,” and not due to any objections to the nominees themselves.
“It’s wrong,” Manchin told CNN, after being asked about the growing number of nominees awaiting confirmation.
He added, when asked about changing the rules, that “I think the Republicans would be in for that too.”
Multiple Republicans in the Senate have also shown their support for ending Cruz’s blockade, but only a few have suggested changing the rules on voting for nominees.
Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, noted on Thursday that he has talked to Manchin and is “willing to discuss” changing the rules.
“We really do need to get our ambassadors in the various capitals around the world to promote American interests, particularly as China’s doing so very aggressively,” Romney said, according to CNN. “And I’d like to see that moved along if possible.”
West Virginia Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito said, “I’d like to see them move. We got problems all over the world. We need ambassadors.”
She added: “There’s no reason some of these agencies and ambassadors should have to wait so long.”
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said that “there’s some places that we need ambassadors,” such as China, India, Japan, and others.
“I’d like to be able to clear some of those,” he said.
Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., told CNN that while he doesn’t want to change the Senate rules, he does want to see some important ambassador posts filled before the end of the year.
“I think we really need to have particularly an ambassador in China and Japan before we leave here this year,” he said. “And I’d be glad to help find whatever votes they need to make that happen.”
Of the 54 nominees for ambassador posts, only nine have been confirmed for their positions. Many of those confirmed have longstanding ties to the Senate, such as former Sens. Jeff Flake, now ambassador to Turkey; Ken Salazar, now ambassador to Mexico; and Tom Udall, now ambassador to New Zealand.