Nomination of Jack Lew to be US Ambassador to Israel to get fresh push by Senate Dems

“It would be political misconduct by the Senate to leave the United States without an ambassador at this critical moment. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), another member of the panel, said, “Jack Lew is extremely qualified and should be confirmed in the coming weeks.”

In addition to Lew’s confirmation, Cardin said he would prioritize sending more resources to Israel, including the Iron Dome missile defense system as well as a potential supplemental spending bill. They could travel either on the spending bill that must be passed in November, or perhaps in a separate package.

Lawmakers are also attempting to extend aid to Ukraine after leaving it out of a previous spending bill. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said that “Failure to support friends under attack – in Kiev or Tel Aviv – will only embolden the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism and fellow authoritarians.”

The Senate is on recess until October 16 and the House is without a speaker, complicating plans to pass new legislation quickly. But Senate Democrats can move nominees like Lew unilaterally, and he had bipartisan support when he was confirmed as Treasury secretary 10 years ago.

Senate Republicans will have some influence on how quickly the Lew nomination moves through the chamber. And Senate Foreign Relations Ranking Member Jim Risch (R-Idaho) indicated he is open to cooperation.

A spokesperson for Risk said, “The file for the Lew nomination was completed just last week, which is an important step as the committee moves toward a hearing.” “The attacks on Israel are clearly provocations, and the US team on the ground is doing well so far. The committee will do its due diligence to move this nomination forward as quickly as possible.

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) had previously vetoed some Biden administration nominees for Middle East-related positions, raising questions about how quickly Lew could move through the Senate.

A spokeswoman said Saturday that Cruz had not yet met with Lew, but that he indicated deep concerns about the administration’s candidates with ties to Israel.

“Sen. Cruz has said since the summer that it is becoming impossible to quickly advance Biden administration nominees because those candidates continue to lie to Congress and the American people, testifying publicly that they are committed to confronting Iran and protecting the U.S. -Israel is committed to deepening ties and then implementing opposite policies. Once confirmed confidentially,” the spokesperson said. “He will evaluate Lew’s nomination against the backdrop of those concerns.”

Biden administration officials are also eager to see Lew confirmed in light of Saturday’s attacks in Israel. In a conference call on Saturday, a senior official said they had not been confirmed yet. “Obviously it would be great to have him on the ground in Israel,” the official said.

Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) is blocking several military promotions from accelerated voting in protest of the Pentagon’s abortion travel policy.

“This is a serious matter. If he wants to change health care policy in the DoD, he can introduce a bill. But they cannot diminish our ability to help our allies and partners,” Schatz said Saturday.

Jennifer Haberkorn and Maia Ward contributed to this report.

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