Three Senate Democrats vote against confirming Rahm Emanuel as Japan ambassador

Senate leaves for holiday break without voting on Build Back Better bill

Fox News congressional correspondent Chad Pergram weighs in on the Senate leaving for holiday break without BBB vote and what to look out for in the upcoming weeks in the Democratic Party.

The United States Senate confirmed former Chicago mayor and Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel as U.S. ambassador to Japan on Saturday, with three Democrats voting in opposition.

The Senate voted 48-21 in a rare middle of the night session to confirm Emanuel to the position with Democrat Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Ed Markey of Massachusetts, and Jeff Merkley of Oregon, voting against it.

Rahm Emanuel, former mayor of Chicago, speaks during the Wall Street Journal CEO Council, in Washington, U.S., December 10, 2019. REUTERS/Al Drago – RC2GSD9VHWAL

Eight Republicans ended up voting with a majority of Democrats to confirm Emanuel including Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt, Maine Sen. Susan Collins, Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, Tennessee Sen. Bill Hagerty, Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse, Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan, South Dakota Sen. John Thune, and Indiana Sen. Todd Young.

Nominees to be ambassadors to Spain, Vietnam, and Somalia were among those confirmed by voice vote soon afterward. The votes came after an agreement was reached to hold a vote concerning Nord Stream 2 sanctions before Jan. 14.

Critics on both sides of the aisle have raised concerns that the pipeline will threaten European energy security by increasing the continent’s reliance on Russian gas and allowing Russia to exert political pressure on vulnerable Eastern and Central European nations, particularly Ukraine.

NEW YORK, UNITED STATES – 2021/08/13: Senator Schumer speaks during the presentation. Senator Chuck Schumer elected officials honor members of 369th Regiment, The Harlem Hellfighters and Harlem Armory.
((Photo by Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images))

With many senators anxious to go home for the holidays, Schumer, D-N.Y., threatened to keep the Senate in for as long as it took to break a logjam on a broad array of diplomatic and national security nominees.


Earlier in the week, Schumer demanded that Cruz lift all of his holds on nominees at the two Cabinet departments as well as the U.S. Agency for International Development as part of any possible agreement on a Nord Stream 2 sanctions. Cruz said he was willing to lift holds on 16 nominees. The two sides were trading offers throughout the day Friday.

“I think there ought to be a reasonable middle ground solution,” Cruz said.

Sen. Ted Cruz puts one hand on his chest as he tours the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in Fort Worth, Texas.
(Yffy Yossifor/Star-Telegram via AP)

While Democrats were intent on making progress on Biden’s nominees, they also viewed it as too little and too late.

“Let’s face it. There is little to celebrate when it comes to nominations in the Senate,” said Sen. Bob Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Associated Press contributed to this report

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