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US Senate Backs Biden Nominee Blinken as Secretary of State

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The U.S. Senate on Tuesday backed President Joe Biden’s nominee, veteran diplomat Antony Blinken, to serve as secretary of state.

As voting continued, the 100-member Senate backed Blinken by 67-17, meaning he could be sworn in as the nation’s top diplomat later in the day. A simple majority was needed in the Democratic-controlled chamber for his confirmation.

Blinken is a longtime Biden confidant who has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate before, most recently to serve as No. 2 at the State Department during former Democratic President Barack Obama’s administration, when Biden was vice president.

The 100-member Senate is divided 50-50 but controlled by Biden’s fellow Democrats because Vice President Kamala Harris can break any tie.

Blinken’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations committee went smoothly last week, with both Democrats and Republicans offering praise. Blinken was a committee staff director before he joined the Obama administration.

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(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

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