The Senate voted today to cut off debate on the nomination of Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State. This sets up Tillerson for a possible confirmation vote from the full Senate Wednesday. From Reuters:
The vote was 56 to 43 to move toward a final confirmation vote after up to 30 hours’ debate, putting a final vote very early on Wednesday, if senators do not agree to change the time.
The vote broke largely along party lines. Every Republican favored advancing the nomination and all but four members of the Democratic caucus voted against it.
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.
While Democrats failed to block the vote on Tillerson, they did request a delay of a vote on Trump’s nominee for Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. The vote was originally scheduled for Monday evening but was pushed back to Tuesday so Democrats could attend a vigil in protest of Trump’s executive order on immigration. For his part, Trump sent out a tweet Monday afternoon saying Democrats were obstructing his nominees for political reasons:
The Democrats are delaying my cabinet picks for purely political reasons. They have nothing going but to obstruct. Now have an Obama A.G.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 31, 2017
Of the four members of the Democratic caucus who voted with the Republicans on Tillerson, three face reelection in 2018. From the Associated Press:
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said last week he would support Tillerson. Manchin, who faces re-election in 2018 in a state that backed Trump heavily in the presidential election, said the former Exxon Mobil CEO’s business career “will bring a unique perspective to the State Department.”
Joining Manchin in voting to move ahead on the nomination were two other senators facing re-election in 2018 — Democrat Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Independent Angus King of Maine. Democrat Mark Warner of Virginia also voted with the Republicans to push the nomination forward.
Heitkamp and Manchin are both considered vulnerable in the 2018 election because they are in red states where Trump beat Clinton.