The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State Monday, clearing the way for a vote by the full Senate which may not take place until next week. The Associated Press reports:
Members of the panel voted along party lines, 11-10, to back Tillerson following a contentious confirmation hearing nearly two weeks ago that stoked concerns he might not win the panel’s recommendation…
None of the committee’s 10 Democrats voted for Tillerson. They cited concerns Tillerson would continue to view the world through the lens of a corporate executive and not the nation’s chief diplomat.
Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, the panel’s top Democrat, said Tillerson “equivocated” during his confirmation hearing on questions about human rights, civil society and press and religious freedoms, and repeatedly prioritized “narrow business interests ahead of these core national security interests.”
There was some question whether Tillerson might be opposed by Republicans concerned about his position on Russia but Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham announced they would back Tillerson on Sunday. And as Allahpundit pointed out earlier, Senator Marco Rubio, who sits on the Foreign Relations Committee, announced he would support Tillerson earlier today after having expressed concern about Tillerson’s “moral clarity” during his confirmation hearing.
A group of Code Pink protesters sat in the hearing room but were mostly polite and treated courteously by Sen. Bob Corker. When one of the protesters refused to talk quietly, Corker had her escorted out. When the rest of the protesters got up to leave they thanked Corker and Corker replied, “Thank you for being here. We appreciate the roll that you play in our democracy very much.”
Senator Corker came out afterwards and announced the vote to the press:
Tillerson is expected to be confirmed when the full Senate votes on his nomination. CNN reports that vote will take place next week.