Leading an effort to hinder the smooth transitioning of the Biden administration, Ted Cruz, Republican Senator from Texas, has been blocking nominees from being confirmed to vital positions in the State Department, going by US media reports.
So far, six months after Biden's inauguration, just six State Department candidates have been confirmed on the Senate floor.
Almost 60 State Department nominations for the Biden administration are still waiting to be confirmed, proving a challenge for the new government in power to orchestrate with full authority.
Meanwhile, according to both Democrats and Republicans who spoke to CNN, the blame of the hurdles facing Biden should be placed on Ted Cruz.
The senator from Texas has himself claimed responsibility for blocking senior officials from being confirmed. He argues that he is pressuring the administration on a specific point of Russia policy, a campaign that even other Republicans say is fruitless.
"I look forward to lifting the holds just as soon as they impose the sanctions on Nord Stream 2 that are required by federal law," he told CNN.
Cruz has essentially blocked the Senate from voting on senior department nominations unless Democrats follow the time-consuming measures required to break a filibuster for each nomination, leaving a dozen offices without confirmed leadership.
Meanwhile, some Republicans privately admitted to CNN they are slow-walking State Department nominees to squeeze concessions from the administration -- but also that they're frustrated by Cruz's campaign, which they see as pointless, as the White House will not budge on its Nord Stream policy.
State Department officials have said they are working with Cruz to find a way out of the impasse, but have made little headway.
The United States stand at a crucial juncture where a toxic brew of personality politics, hyperpartisanship and political grandstanding has transformed the often-dull approval process for nominees into a polarised battle.
This will eventually squeeze Democratic leadership in the Senate to juggles priorities, including President Joe Biden's push for infrastructure legislation, and the tight deadline of a looming summer recess.