Cruz lifts (toothless) hold on ambassador nominees


Sen. Ted Cruz speaks with reporters at the Hilton Miami Airport in Miami on June 20. (Emily Michot/The Miami Herald via AP)

Congratulations ambassador nominees, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) is no longer holding all of your confirmations. But no, that does not mean you’ll be shipping out any sooner.

Cruz’s symbolic hold in protest of the Obama administration’s temporary ban last week on U.S. flights to Israel ended Monday after he had a briefing with Federal Aviation Administration officials. Cruz wanted to know if the moratorium was a political decision, or a way to punish Israel. His office has not shared FAA’s answers.

In a statement, Cruz said he was glad the White House reversed the ban, but said, “Nevertheless, I remain concerned that the Administration was so willing to impose grave economic harm on our friend and ally Israel in order to try to pressure them into acceding to Secretary Kerry’s foreign policy demands.”

But with or without Cruz’s hold, the pace of ambassador confirmations is unlikely to quicken. Republicans still demand a cloture vote that eats up debate time and slows the process, which is akin to placing a hold on them. (If you missed colleague story about nominees and their families in limbo, read it here.)

With August recess looming and a packed last-minute schedule, it’s looking like most of the ambassadors-in-waiting will have to keep on waiting.

Colby Itkowitz is a national reporter for In The Loop.
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Colby Itkowitz | July 28