Congressional news

By a vote of 94 to 3, the Senate overwhelming approved Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) yesterday afternoon as the United States’ next Secretary of State, The Washington Post reports. Kerry abstained from voting but watched the proceedings from the front of the Senate chamber. Three Republicans voted against Kerry: Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn of Texas, and Sen.

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Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) during his confirmation hearing to become the next U.S. Secretary of State, Senator John Kerry (D-MA) expressed his great appreciation for the work of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who has “served above and beyond duty,” and vowed to build on her record, as well as President Obama’s vision.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) will hold a full committee confirmation hearing this coming Thursday, January 24, on the nomination of Senator John Kerry (D-MA) to be Secretary of State.

The hearing will be held at 10:00 am in Room 216 of the Hart Senate Office Building.

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President Obama nominated former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel (R) to succeed Leon Panetta as Secretary of Defense, several news sources including the New York Times and the Washington Post report.

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The 113th Congress was sworn in today and its “demographic composition … is in some sense historic,” CNN reports.

Some interesting statistics on the new Congress compiled by CNN and The Week are below:

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Sen. John Kerry’s confirmation as Secretary of State is expected to go smoothly, due to wide support among both Democratic and Republican Senate colleagues and will, according to CQ.com, coincide with President Obama’s inauguration to a second term in office. Once confirmed, Sen. Kerry (D-MA) will bring decades of foreign policy experience and many vital personal relationships with U.S.

Update (December 21, 2012 - 2:15 pm):
In a press conference on December 21, 2012, President Obama nominated Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) to succeed Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. 

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has announced that he will remain chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and will not take over the Senate Appropriations Committee chairmanship, as previously suspected after the death of chairman Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI), CQ.com reports. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) is likely to take over the Appropriations Committee chairmanship.

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Once his term expires in early January, Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) will head to the German Marshall Fund (GMF), a non-partisan non-profit organization dedicated to strengthening transatlantic cooperation, CQ.com reports. Sen. Lugar will serve the organization as a senior trans-Atlantic fellow.

According to GMF President Craig Kennedy:

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Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI), chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, died Monday at the age of 88 after suffering respiratory problems that kept him in the hospital since December 6, Roll Call reports. Inouye was the second longest serving Senator in U.S. history, as well as Senate president pro tem, which by law is a position third in line for the presidency. His 50 plus years in Congress began when he arrived in Washington as Hawaii’s first congressman after it won statehood in 1959. In 1962, he won election to the Senate and represented Hawaii continuously until his death.

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