Senate confirms seven Cabinet nominees


President Barack Obama’s Cabinet now has eight official members.

The Senate voted by voice vote just before 4 p.m. today to confirm the following seven nominees: Steven Chu for Energy, Arne Duncan for Education, Janet Napolitano for Homeland Security, Peter Orszag for director of the Office of Management and Budget, Ken Salazar for Interior, Eric Shinseki for Veterans Affairs and Tom Vilsak for Agriculture.

His Cabinet already included Robert Gates, whom Obama asked to stay on as Defense secretary.

But things aren’t moving so quickly for Sen. Hillary Clinton’s secretary of state nomination. After her smooth hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week, many expected Clinton to be confirmed today.

Enter Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, who had questioned donations made by foreign groups and individuals to the foundation run by Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton. He threatened a filibuster and said he was not convinced steps she outlined to prevent conflicts of interest between herself and potential donors were enough, and that was enough to stall Clinton’s vote for at least a day.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., made it clear on the Senate floor Tuesday afternoon he had little patience for Cornyn’s moves. He announced the scheduling of a three-hour executive session of the Senate Wednesday to discuss Clinton’s confirmation and scheduled a roll call vote at 3 p.m. Wednesday.


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