Wednesday, January 21, 2009

CNN: Clinton confirmed as Secretary of State by 94-2 vote

Clinton confirmed as secretary of state by 94-2 vote

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The U.S. Senate approved the nomination of Hillary Clinton as secretary of state Wednesday by a vote of 94-2.

The two senators who opposed Clinton's confirmation were Jim DeMint, R-South Carolina, and David Vitter, R-Louisiana.

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, had objected to the confirmation Tuesday, preventing the Senate from voting by unanimous consent. His objection meant that the Senate held a roll call vote on Clinton's nomination Wednesday.

Cornyn said he knew that Clinton would be confirmed but said he delayed the vote because he wanted more time to talk about the foundation run by her husband, former President Clinton.

Bill Clinton signed an agreement with the Obama transition team pledging to limit foreign donations and to release annual disclosures of new donations to his foundation.

Speaking from the floor, Sen. John McCain on Wednesday urged a quick confirmation of Clinton by a voice vote.

McCain, R-Arizona, who was the Republican presidential candidate last year, frequently spoke of his respect for Clinton during the campaign season.

Cornyn said he told McCain that he wouldn't agree to an immediate voice vote but said that as long as senators have time to express their concerns, a voice vote might have been acceptable.

Cornyn wrote to Hillary Clinton last week to outline his concerns.

"I remain deeply troubled that America's foreign policy and your diplomatic mission will be encumbered by the sweeping global activities of the Clinton Foundation ... unless tighter foreign fundraising restrictions and transparency protocols are adopted by your husband's organization," he wrote in a letter he released to the media .

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 16-1 last week in favor of Clinton's nomination, with Vitter casting the sole dissenting vote. The committee vote sent Clinton's nomination to the full Senate, the final step in the confirmation process.

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