MIAMI (CBSMiami) –The Senate confirmed President Donald Trump’s pick for Secretary of State Wednesday. Several of the president’s controversial picks are also closer to confirmation.
In a 56-43 vote, the Senate confirmed former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson as the next secretary of state in a 56-43 vote.
Senators on both sides of the aisle expressed concern about Tillerson’s business ties to Russia.
Earlier, tensions flared over Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions’ nomination as Attorney General. Democrats took issue with his stance on voting rights and his civil rights record.
“He’s no champion of voting rights,” said Senator Al Franken (D-Minnesota).
“The Attorney General does not work for the president so as much for the people and does not serve the administration so much as the law,” said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island).
Despite the fiery hearing, the judiciary committee advanced Senator Session’s nomination along party lines.
For a second day, Democrats boycotted committee votes for several of President Trump’s nominees including Congressman Tom Price as Secretary of Health and Human Services.
“We made it clear throughout yesterday that when we got answers to these questions we were ready to move ahead,” said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon).
“To not be here and participate is, that’s a total abnegation of their duties as Senators and I think it’s pathetic,” said Sen. Orin Hatch (R-Utah).
Republicans went ahead and suspended committee rules and voted in favor of sending Price and former Goldman Sachs executive Steven Mnuchin as Treasury Secretary to the full Senate for confirmation.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has not scheduled a date to vote on Sessions, Mnuchin or Price’s confirmation.