Skip to content
Sign up to receive our free weekday morning edition, and you'll never miss a scoop.
Jack Lew

Jack Lew confirmation process kicks off in Senate

The Senate will soon move on a massive Israel-Ukraine-Taiwan aid package. But the chamber’s broader effort on Israel begins in earnest later this morning.

The Foreign Relations Committee will hold a confirmation hearing at 10:30 a.m. for Jack Lew, President Joe Biden’s nominee to serve as U.S. ambassador to Israel.

Lew will be approved easily in committee next week. But Republicans are signaling to us that they won’t consent to an expedited confirmation on the floor. Any one senator can slow down the process. This puts Lew’s confirmation timeline into late October or early November.

Democrats were hoping that the urgency of having a Senate-confirmed envoy in Jerusalem would prompt Republicans — even those who oppose Lew — to allow an expedited floor process. As of now, that’s not looking likely.

“I don’t expect we’ll get unanimity on him, but [Republicans] should want to expedite the [process] for voting on him,” Foreign Relations Committee Chair Ben Cardin (D-Md.) told us.

Democrats are also working to un-stick several other diplomatic nominees — from ambassadors in the region to senior State Department officials in Washington — who are stalled because of Republican holds.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), a vocal critic of these tactics, suggested it’s time to change the Senate’s rules if the GOP objections remain in place. Shaheen, who traveled to the Western Balkans last week, said it “sends a terrible message” to U.S. allies when the Senate’s processes seem “anti-democratic.”

“When I say to people in New Hampshire, ‘One person can hold up all of those [nominations],’ they say, ‘You guys are crazy, why do you allow that to happen?’” Shaheen told us. “And I can’t explain that. It doesn’t make sense.”

Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s (R-Ala.) blockade of senior military promotions is also looming over the current crisis in Israel. Several key military roles in the Middle East do not have a Senate-confirmed officer. Tuberville told us this week that he’s feeling no additional pressure to back down in light of the war in Israel.

Democrats are looking to highlight this in addition to the diplomatic nominations being blocked. Shaheen said flatly that Tuberville is violating his oath of office. Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), who traveled to Israel this past weekend, noted that 12 U.S. Central Command officers are among the more than 300 promotions being blocked by Tuberville.

“If CENTCOM is not at full strength,” Kelly said, “it hurts Israel and it helps Hamas.”

— Andrew Desiderio

Presented by The Coalition to Project American Jobs

It’s taking the IRS years to process a small business tax credit. 1M+ small business owners who filed for the Employee Retention Credit are stuck in backlog or waiting on payment for their claims. Tell the IRS to lift the moratorium now.

Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. Political ads courtesy of AdImpact.