Ryan to Host Israeli President Rivlin Thursday

Rivlin met with Obama at the White House Wednesday. (Aude Guerrucci/ Pool via Getty Images)

Paul D. Ryan will meet with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin Thursday in his first meeting with a foreign leader since he was elected speaker.  

Rivlin met with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., at the White House Wednesday afternoon and attended a White House Hanukkah party where he lit the candles on a menorah.  

As Ted Cruz Lifts Hold, Diplomats Have a Chance at Confirmation (Video)

( Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

There's a chance at least some of the ambassadors caught in a legislative holding pattern might be confirmed before the August recess.  

While the process of filling the diplomatic corps has been slow in the aftermath of the "nuclear option" standoff last fall, Sen. Ted Cruz said Monday that he had withdrawn his more recent objection.  

Reid Open to Separate Funding for Israel, Wildfires and Border in Pre-Recess Rush

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The pre-recess rush began Monday with a plea from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.  

"Leaving here with Israel being naked as they are, with these wildfires raging and a crisis at the border, it would be a shame if we did nothing," the Nevada Democrat said on the Senate floor.  

McConnell Seeks to Break Out Funding for Israel's Iron Dome From Border Bill

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is introducing standalone legislation to provide funding for Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system.  

The Kentucky Republican's bill would meet a supplemental funding request from the Pentagon for $225 million for the program. Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md., included the funding in her much broader supplemental that would primarily address the crisis of unaccompanied migrant children entering the United States from Central America — but Republicans are balking at that $3.6 billion bill.  

Cruz Threatens to Delay State Department Nominees Over FAA's Israel Flight Ban

(Tom William/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Ted Cruz announced late Wednesday that he would hold up State Department nominees over a moratorium on U.S. flight traffic to Tel Aviv.  

As a practical matter, the move by the Texas Republican may not mean much, since a slew of ambassador nominees are already tied up in an existing logjam. Secretary of State John Kerry has been working the phones in an attempt to get diplomats through to confirmation.  

John Kerry Regrets Israel 'Apartheid' Remark After Bipartisan Criticism

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

John McCain Laughs at Ted Cruz

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has sparred recently with his longtime colleague John Kerry, but dismissed Sen. Ted Cruz's suggestion Monday that the secretary of state should resign over his reportedly saying Israel was headed toward being an "apartheid" state.  

"Resign?" McCain said, chuckling. "Woo. That's a pretty high bar."  

Ted Cruz: John Kerry Should Resign Over Israel 'Apartheid' Comment

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Ted Cruz said Secretary of State John Kerry should offer his resignation to President Barack Obama — and the president should accept it — for reportedly saying behind closed doors that Israel was on the path of becoming an "apartheid" state if it doesn't agree to a two-state peace deal with the Palestinians.  

"Secretary Kerry has long experience in foreign policy and he understands that words matter," the Texas Republican said on the Senate floor. "Apartheid is inextricably associated with one of the worst examples of state-sponsored discrimination in history. ... There is no place for this word in the context of the state of Israel." The Daily Beast first reported on Kerry's comments .