Senate Confirms Biden's Pick for China Ambassador Nicholas Burns testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing on his nomination to be Ambassador to China, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 20, 2021. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
By Charlie McCarthy | Friday, 17 December 2021 11:12 AM
The Senate on Thursday confirmed three of President Joe Biden's nominees, including the pick for ambassador to China.
Nicholas Burns was confirmed as Chinese ambassador in a 75 to 18 vote, The Hill reported.
Ramin Toloui, nominee for assistant secretary for Economic and Business Affairs, was confirmed by a 76-13 vote, and Rashad Hussain, nominee for ambassador-at-large for International Religious Freedom, on a 85-5 vote, The Hill said.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., agreed to lift a "hold" he had on Burns in exchange for moving forward on a bill aimed at penalizing China over its genocide against the Uyghur Muslim population in Xinjiang. The Senate passed the Uyghur bill Thursday and the bipartisan legislation goes to Biden’s desk to be signed into law.
"I want to thank the Senator [Rubio] for working with me to make sure that as part of his unanimous consent request, we're going to be able to make sure we have the personnel in place to properly implement this policy," Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said.
Earlier Thursday, it was reported that Democrats were threatening to delay the start of the Senate's holiday recess unless Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, stopped blocking dozens of Biden's State Department nominees.
Cruz is seeking sanctions related to the construction of the Russian Nord Stream 2 pipeline before he agrees to some of Biden's ambassador nominees.
The senator on Wednesday objected to Democrats' latest attempt to confirm nominees. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., sought a handful of ambassador nominations — including former Chicago Democrat Mayor Rahm Emanuel as ambassador to Japan.