Part of the "Biden's incompetence!11!!" argument is the fact that the Biden administration has yet to fill hundreds of executive agency nominations that require Senate approval. But Republican senators like Rand Paul, Tom Cotton, and especially Ted Cruz have been blocking nominations for months over petty stupidity.
The U.S. Treasury is being held hostage by Republican Senator Ted Cruz's efforts to halt a Russia-to-Germany gas pipeline, blocking critical appointments when the federal debt limit remains a pressing issue, White House officials and Democrats in Congress say.
Only four confirmed nominees are in place in the top ranks of the Treasury, of about 20 slots for presidential picks, officials say. More than eight months after Democratic President Joe Biden took office, his nominees across the government are being approved at a slower rate than the past three presidents, federal data shows.
In addition to the toll that Cruz's actions are taking on the Treasury's ability to tackle the federal debt limit, they are hurting the Biden administration's ability to address other big problems, senior officials say, including a global minimum tax, terrorism and financial intelligence.
Cruz has wielded power by being a lone holdout on a fast-track confirmation process that requires consent by all 100 senators for non-controversial nominees - a description the White House says fits many of the Treasury picks as well as others awaiting Senate confirmation, including numerous ambassadors.
Cruz wants Biden to impose sanctions that would halt Russia's Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.
Biden, despite his opposition to the pipeline, has said he waived sanctions because the project was nearly complete and he wanted to rebuild strained ties with Germany, a key U.S. ally.
As far as Cruz is concerned, a spokesman for the senator said, the solution is simple: he will remove the holds if the Biden administration sanctions the company behind the pipeline project, something he insists is required under U.S. law.
Failure to do so "hands Vladimir Putin a geostrategic victory" and "entrenches corrupt Russian influence in Europe" Cruz said in a letter on Sept. 13, referring to the Russian president.
Suddenly, Ted Cruz cares about punishing Russia over a gas pipeline, but that's strictly because he thinks it would hurt US energy companies in Texas. Otherwise, Cruz is happy to give Putin a pass.
But it also gives Cruz the excuse he needs to block Biden nominations in the Senate, and he's been blocking them for more than six months.
In fact, multiple Republican senators are currently blocking Biden nominations.
But somehow, this is Joe Biden's fault.