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GOP senator says he’ll block Biden nominees over ‘absurd’ natural gas project delays

Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) has said he will block some of President Biden’s nominees over a new policy that could delay the buildout of new natural gas export projects.

Kennedy, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed this week, said he would block any nominees to the State and Energy departments over the move to halt approvals for new natural gas export facilities.

“Until Mr. Biden drops this battle against American energy, I’m going to block every nominee he tries to place at the State and Energy departments,” Kennedy wrote.

“Like the Terminator, I’ll be back again and again to stop his nominees and remind the world that he’s intentionally killing jobs and threatening our national security to placate confused climate extremists,” he added.

There are not currently any Energy Department nominees before the Senate, according to a tracker maintained by The Washington Post and the Partnership for Public Service.

However, the upper chamber is considering 37 State Department nominees, including Kurt Campbell, who is nominated to be deputy secretary of State.

In an interview with Fox News on Wednesday, Kennedy softened his stance slightly, saying he’d be willing to let “crucial” nominees through.

“Until the president is willing to back off of this absurd position, I’m going to hold up some of his nominees,” Kennedy said.

“Not all of them,” he added. “If somebody’s really crucial I’ll let them go through.”

In response to Kennedy’s move to block nominees, a White House official said that holding up nominees for critical national security roles or for unrelated jobs would be harmful and dangerous.

Senators can place “holds” that slow down or prevent nominees from advancing through the chamber. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) notably placed a months-long hold that delayed hundreds of military promotions over the Pentagon’s abortion policy.

The Biden administration policy that Kennedy is protesting would temporarily delay reviews and approvals for some projects that would export U.S. natural gas abroad. The pause does not affect existing exports or projects that are already under construction.

The administration said it would delay these projects so that it can update criteria related to climate and other topics as it evaluates proposed projects.

An administration official told reporters last week that two large and two small projects would see immediate delays. It’s not clear how long the pause will last.

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