Bipartisan Senate vote moves Tillerson closer to confirmation

02 February, 2017, 00:48 | Author: Sam Montgomery
  • Trump secretary of state pick Tillerson clears Senate hurdle

The Senate on Wednesday approved Rex Tillerson to lead President Trump's State Department, despite a late effort by Democrats to slow down the nomination.

The Senate's Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer, and several other members of the party tried, but failed, to delay considering Tillerson because of Trump's executive order banning immigration from seven mostly Muslim countries and temporarily halting the entry of refugees. Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) had announced their support for Tillerson before the committee voted.

He faulted Tillerson, 64, for saying during his confirmation hearing that he needed more information before he could respond to senators' questions about whether women suffered human rights violations in Saudi Arabia.

Gorsuch's team: "The White House has assembled a team of political veterans with deep experience navigating the Senate to help shepherd President Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court".

When asked whether climate change causes storms or extreme weather events, Tillerson replied that "there's some literature out there that suggests that; there's other literature that says it's inconclusive".

With his vast universe of business interests and opposition to US sanctions on Russia, Tillerson quickly emerged as one of the most contentious members of Trump's cabinet.

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The vote on Tillerson came after the White House passed an executive order on Friday that temporarily bans travel and immigration from seven majority-Muslim countries, and Democratic leaders like Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of NY vowed to oppose Tillerson's nomination until he answered questions on the order.

The chamber cleared Tillerson by a 56-to-43 vote, largely along party lines.

Instead, Democrats shifted to an uphill battle to try to convince Republicans to vote against Tillerson.

On Tuesday, Senate committees are poised to advance his picks to head agencies in the thick of partisan battles over health care, legal protections, education and the economy.

"Putting a company's interest before American interest is inexcusable and a disqualifying characteristic for America's next secretary of State", Donnelly said. The president, who lunched with Tillerson on Wednesday, has said he may send his son-in-law Jared Kushner to negotiate peace between Israel and its Palestinian neighbors.

He told the lawmakers,"Our NATO allies are right to be alarmed by a resurgent Russian Federation", and said Trump has urged closer relations with Russian Federation to address a resurgence that occurred in the "absence of American leadership".

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