Dems Want Israel Envoy Confirmed ‘Instantaneously’ After Attack – Senate Democrats are energetically advocating for the swift confirmation of Jack Lew as ambassador to Israel following the recent Hamas attack on Saturday. Lew’s nomination, which was made in early September, is now gaining momentum in light of the attack, which received condemnation from both parties and various ideological groups.
This incident is poised to accelerate a larger discussion on aid to Israel in what is already a tumultuous fall. Senate Foreign Relations Chair Ben Cardin (D-Md.) said he hopes fellow senators “will join me in promptly confirming” Lew. And Sen. Brian Schatz, a Democratic member of the Foreign Relations Committee, said “we should do this instantaneously and we also need to confirm a chief of Naval Operations.”
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Alongside Lew’s confirmation, Cardin expressed his commitment to allocating additional resources to Israel, which could encompass support for the Iron Dome missile defense system and the consideration of a potential supplementary spending bill. These measures may either be incorporated into a crucial spending bill in November or possibly addressed through a separate legislative package.
Lawmakers are also trying to supply aid to Ukraine after leaving it out of the last spending bill. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said that “failure to support friends under attack — in Kyiv or Tel Aviv — will only embolden the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism and fellow authoritarians.” The Senate is in recess until October 16, and the absence of a speaker in the House adds complexity to the speedy passage of new legislation.
However, Senate Democrats have the ability to advance nominees like Lew independently, especially considering his bipartisan support when he was confirmed as Treasury Secretary a decade ago. While Senate Republicans will have some influence over the pace of Lew’s nomination process, Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, indicated his willingness to collaborate on this matter.
“The file for the Lew nomination was just completed last week, which is a critical step as the committee moves toward a hearing,” said a spokesperson for Risch. “The attacks on Israel are a clear provocation, and the U.S. team on the ground is so far doing well. The committee will perform its due diligence as quickly as possible to move this nomination forward.”
Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has previously placed holds on certain Biden administration nominees with Middle East-related positions, creating uncertainty regarding the speed of Lew’s Senate confirmation process. A spokesperson stated on Saturday that Cruz has not yet held a meeting with Lew but expressed significant reservations concerning administration nominees linked to Israel.
“Sen. Cruz has said since the summer that it was becoming impossible to expeditiously advance Biden administration nominees because those nominees keep lying to Congress and the American people, testifying publicly that they are committed to countering Iran and deepening the U.S.-Israel relationship then implementing the opposite policies in secret once confirmed,” the spokesperson said. “He will evaluate Lew’s nomination against the backdrop of those concerns.”
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Biden administration officials also are eager to see Lew confirmed in light of the Saturday’s attacks in Israel. In a conference call Saturday, one senior official noted that he has yet to be confirmed. “Obviously it would be great to have him on the ground in Israel,” the official said. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) is preventing many military promotions from a quick vote in protest over the Pentagon’s abortion travel policy.