WASHINGTON – The US Senate, in an overwhelming majority vote of 94-3, confirmed President Barack Obama’s choice of five-term Senator John Kerry to be secretary of state.
Kerry will be replacing retiring Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Both Republicans and Democrats praised Kerry as her ideal successor.
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The Senate vote followed a similar successful one by the Foreign Relations Committee, which unanimously approved Kerry for the roll.
No date has been set for Kerry’s swearing-in, though a welcoming ceremony is planned at the State Department on Monday.
"Senator Kerry will need no introduction to the world’s political and military leaders and will begin Day One fully conversant not only with the intricacies of US foreign policy, but able to act on a multitude of international stages," said Senator Bob Menendez, (D-NJ), who will succeed Kerry as committee chairman.
Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, the panel’s top Republican, called Kerry "a realist" who will deal with unrest in Egypt, civil war in Syria, the threat of al-Qaeda-linked groups in Africa and Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.
Kerry, a forceful proponent of climate change legislation, also will have a say in whether the United States moves ahead on the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada, a divisive issue that has roiled environmentalists.
Obama had nominated Kerry after Susan Rice, US ambassador to the United Nations, removed her name from consideration following criticism from Republicans over her initial comments about the attacks on the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
Three Republicans voted against Kerry's nomination: Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma and John Cornyn and Ted Cruz of Texas. Absent from the vote were senators Patty Murray (D-Washington) and John Hoeven (R-ND).
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