Senate confirms Rex Tillerson to be next Secretary of State

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Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Wednesday, joined members of the Senate in voting to confirm Rex Tillerson to be Secretary of State.

The Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer, fuelled by Mr Trump's recent actions including his controversial executive order on immigration, has announced his opposition to most of Mr Trump's cabinet picks, including Mr Tillerson and attorney general nominee Senator Jeff Sessions. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) signaled his support for Tillerson. A cloture vote, created to prevent filibustering, only requires a simply majority of 51 votes.

Gorsuch's team: "The White House has assembled a team of political veterans with deep experience navigating the Senate to help shepherd President Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court".

Tillerson is still waiting to be confirmed as Senate as Democrats continue to hold up a number of President Trump's cabinet nominations.

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He'll have to work with a skeptical Trump on dealing with Russia's interference in the USA election.

As Secretary of State, Tillerson will have tremendous power to influence climate-related negotiations - and to help energy firms secure rights to pump fossil fuels overseas.

Democrats signaled on Monday that they would try to delay Tillerson's nomination over questions about his support for Trump's 90-day ban on immigrants from seven Muslim-majority nations entering the United States. He wouldn't agree when asked if Russia's Vladimir Putin - who has given Tillerson Russia's highest civilian honor for his work there as an oil man. Tillerson also avoided condemning human rights abuses in China, Saudi Arabia and the Philippines.

Early on, senators raised concerns over Tillerson's long-standing business relationship with the Kremlin.

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Republican senators echoed Trump's conviction that Tillerson's role as chairman and chief of executive officer of Exxon, the world's largest energy company by market value, gave him the connections and skills needed to promote US interests overseas.

"Putting a company's interest before American interest is inexcusable and a disqualifying characteristic for America's next secretary of State", Donnelly said.

The 56-43 vote went largely along party lines, but got some Democratic support, including from Sens. In 2013 President Putin even awarded him the high honour of the "Order of Friendship".

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