Subscribe to Breaking News emails

You have successfully subscribed to the Breaking News email.

Subscribe today to be the first to to know about breaking news and special reports.

Ambassadors to Sweden and Norway Confirmed, Sen. Cruz Lifts Hold

by Frank Thorp V /
Image: Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas speaks
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks at a town hall campaign event on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016, in Henniker, N.H. Elise Amendola / AP

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

The Senate on Friday confirmed a handful of ambassadors and State Department officials, including the American ambassadors to Sweden and Norway — a move that came after Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, lifted his months-long hold on the nominations which were in place because of his objection to the Iran nuclear deal.

In the Senate any one senator can put a “hold” on a nomination, and Cruz had been blocking the speedy consideration of a number of nominations for the past seven months.

An aide to Cruz said that he decided to lift his hold Friday because "he feels that after seven months that the American people are very aware of the negative consequences of this deal."

Also contributing to the decision to lift his hold was the fact that the Senate unanimously passed Cruz's bill Friday to rename the plaza in front of the Chinese embassy in Washington, D.C. as “Liu Xiaobo Plaza,” after pro-democracy dissident and Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Liu Xiaobo.

That legislation still needs to pass the House where Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., has introduced a similar bill.

Related: 2016 Elections, Ted Cruz

Cruz's holds on the nominations had frustrated Democrats who have been attempting to go to the floor while Cruz is on the campaign trail to confirm the nominations while he isn't in Washington D.C., but Republican senators, including Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., have objected on his behalf.

Sen. Ben Cardin, a Democrat from Maryland who serves as the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, applauded the decision, and pointed out that many key nominees are still awaiting confirmation in the Senate.

"These positions are vital to fostering positive relations with our allies throughout the world and maintaining the United States' role as a leader in the global community," Cardin said in a statement, "America's national security is impacted when key positions are left unfilled, particularly for reasons that have nothing to do with the qualifications of the nominees."

      Breaking News Emails

      Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
      MORE FROM news