The U.S. Senate on Saturday approved a flurry of nominations for overseas diplomatic posts, including President Joe Bidenâ€™s longtime â€œbest friendâ€ and former aideÂ Mark GitensteinÂ to be U.S. ambassador to the European Union.Â
Emanuel was confirmed on aÂ 48-21 voteÂ and most of the other nominees were approved by voice votes.Â
The action came after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.)Â struck a dealÂ with Sen.Â Ted CruzÂ (R-Texas) to lift his hold on 32 nominees in exchange for vote in January on Nord Stream 2, the Russia-to-Germany natural gas pipeline. Cruz had been slow-walking dozens of foreign policy nominees over the Biden administrationâ€™s decision to waive sanctions on the pipeline, forcing Schumer to use valuable floor time on the nominees or cut a deal with Cruz.
Gitenstein was chief counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee when Biden was chairman in the late 1980s. Together, they led a successful long-shot bid to halt President Ronald Reaganâ€™s nomination of Robert Bork to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Two decades later, when Biden was vice president, he described Gitenstein as â€œmy best personal friendâ€ during a trip to a Romania, where Gitenstein was ambassador.
Gitenstein most recently has been a special counsel at the Mayer Brown law firm, where he advised clients on how to do business in Central and Eastern Europe. Now he will play a key role in the Biden administrationâ€™s efforts to work with the EU to respond to rising competition from China.
Other nominations approved today include:Â
â€” First Lady Jill Bidenâ€™s chief of staffÂ Julissa Reynoso PantaleonÂ to be ambassador to Spain;Â
â€” Former ambassador to Belgium and executive director of Women for Biden during the 2020 campaignÂ Denise Campbell BauerÂ to be ambassador to France;Â
â€” Massachusetts House of Representatives Majority LeaderÂ Claire CroninÂ to be ambassador to Ireland;Â
â€” Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Japan and KoreaÂ Marc Evans KnapperÂ to be ambassador to Vietnam.
â€” Senior State Department adviser and former CARE USA vice presidentÂ Bathsheba Nell CrockerÂ to be the representative to the UN and other international agencies in Geneva;
â€”Â Marcela EscobariÂ to be assistant administrator of USAIDâ€™s Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean, a post she previously held in the Obama administration;Â
â€” Surgeon and authorÂ Atul GawandeÂ to be assistant administrator of USAIDâ€™s Bureau for Global Health.Â
Afterward, the Senate adjourned for the year, leaving a number of trade nominees pending. Those include MarÃa PagÃ¡n to be ambassador to the WTO, Christopher Wilson to be USTRâ€™s chief intellectual property negotiator and Marisa Lago to be under secretary of Commerce for international trade.
The nomination of Alan Estevez to be under secretary of Commerce for industry and security is also still awaiting a Senate vote.
Andrew Disiderio contributed to this article.