Senate Gives Nod to Seven Obama Nominees

Posted January 20, 2009 at 3:29pm

Just hours after President Barack Obama was sworn into office, the Senate confirmed six of his Cabinet nominees and his budget director by a voice vote.

Although key posts at the departments of State, Treasury and Justice have been held up temporarily by Republicans, lawmakers did advance a half-dozen of Obama’s nominees. Among them are: Steven Chu to be Energy secretary, Arne Duncan to be Education secretary, Janet Napolitano to be secretary of Homeland Security, Sen. Ken Salazar (D-Colo.) to be Interior secretary, former Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki to be Veterans Affairs secretary, former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack to be Agriculture secretary, and Peter Orszag to be director of the Office of Management and Budget.

A vote on Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s nomination to be secretary of State is set for 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) had requested a roll-call vote on her nomination because of his concerns about foreign donors to former President Bill Clinton’s foundation.

Treasury Secretary nominee Timothy Geithner has yet to be voted out of the Finance Committee after he revealed he initially failed to pay some payroll taxes during the past decade. A hearing on his nomination is expected in committee on Wednesday.

Also on Wednesday, the Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on the nomination of Eric Holder to be attorney general.