Pompeo has served as director of the Central intelligence Agency under US President Donald Trump. Once Trump decided to remove oil executive Rex Tillerson from his position as secretary of state, Pompeo was selected to become America's top diplomat.
Votes were cast along strict party lines, with every Republican supporting Pompeo's nomination. Previous secretary of state nominations, including those of Tillerson, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton, got out of committee with a near-unanimous favorable endorsement before going to the Senate.
Rand Paul, a Republican senator from Kentucky, was seen as the key vote swinging the committee's vote in favor of Pompeo. Paul had expressed concern about Pompeo's willingness to pursue regime change, his views on the Iraq War, and his thoughts on America's policy of "perpetual war," but revealed shortly before the vote Monday evening that he planned to support Pompeo's nomination.
Pompeo likely has sufficient backing in the Senate to be confirmed. Through a procedural tactic, the committee advanced Pompeo's nomination "positively" even though the vote was so close and the deciding vote was cast by a senator who is currently giving a eulogy at a friend's funeral.