, the former mayor of Chicago and White House chief of staff for President Barack Obama, was confirmed early Saturday as the US ambassador to Japan. The vote was 48-21, with 31 senators not voting.
Progressive Democrats had objected to Emanuel’s nomination,
citing his record as Chicago mayor, specifically his handling of the 2014 police shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.
Three Democratic senators — Elizabeth Warren
, Ed Markey
and Jeff Merkley
— voted against Emanuel’s confirmation.
Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz
had for months refused to allow quick confirmation on diplomatic nominations to protest the Biden administration’s policy on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline
. Cruz wants the administration to toughen its policy on the major pipeline that will deliver natural gas from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea, arguing that the pipeline would strengthen Russia and make Germany beholden to the country. Some Republican senators, however, had expressed concern
that the hold up on the nominations would impact America’s diplomacy and influence around the world.
Early Saturday morning, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York, announced a deal that Cruz’s legislation imposing sanctions would be debated and voted on by mid-January.
Emanuel and others’ confirmation votes were part of a flurry of activity in the Senate in the early hours of Saturday morning before lawmakers adjourned for recess.
The Senate confirmed several nominees to other key posts in Asia and Africa, including Marc Evans Knapper
as the ambassador to Vietnam; Larry Edward André Jr.
as the ambassador to Somalia; Steven C. Bondy
as the ambassador to Bahrain; and Christopher John Lamora
as the ambassador to Cameroon.
, a close friend to Biden who served as chief counsel on the Senate Judiciary Committee when Biden chaired the panel, was confirmed as the ambassador to the
Julissa Reynoso Pantaleón
, who most recently served as first lady Jill Biden’s chief of staff in the East Wing, was confirmed as the ambassador to Spain.
The Senate also confirmed a handful of judicial nominees, including Mary Katherine Dimke
to be US District Judge for the Eastern District of Washington; Gabriel P. Sanchez
to be US Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit; and Holly A. Thomas
as the US Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit, becoming only the second Black woman to serve on the Ninth Circuit and the first Black woman from California.