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Senate panel approves DHS secretary nominee

Jeh Johnson

Secretary of Homeland Security nominee Jeh Johnson

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee OK'd former Pentagon General Counsel Jeh Johnson's nomination to become the next secretary of Homeland Security by voice vote on Nov. 20.

Johnson now faces a vote in the full Senate, where Arizona Republican John McCain has said he will hold up confirmation until Johnson provides more details about his plans to beef up border security.

But initial objections by a handful of Senate Republicans over Johnson's role as a fundraiser for President Barack Obama have died down, and his eventual confirmation appears all but certain.

Committee Chairman Tom Carper said Johnson's nomination comes at a critical time for DHS, which is still working to fill a host of senior management slots.

"If confirmed by the full Senate, Mr. Johnson will be met with the dual challenge of combating threats to our nation while also working to further strengthen management at the department and encourage more cohesion among the department's components," Carper said. "This is no easy task, but I am confident that we have a nominee who is up to the challenge."

Ranking Republican Tom Coburn of Oklahoma echoed Carper.

"With so much at stake and with limited financial resources, DHS must work with Congress to ensure that spending on counterterrorism and intelligence programs makes us safer," he said.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Nov 21, 2013 at 7:31 AM

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