20:47 GMT03 March 2021
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    The US Senate's vote on Tuesday made Tony Blinken the fourth Senate-confirmed Cabinet pick for newly sworn-in President Joe Biden, as the latter is trying to get his team up and running.

    A majority in the US Senate has confirmed the nomination of veteran diplomat Tony Blinken to become the secretary of state in the new president's administration.

    As voting went on, the 100-member Democratic-controlled upper chamber backed Blinken with 53 to 11, meaning he can assume the role of the nation's top diplomat later in the day, as a simple majority is needed for his confirmation.

    Blinken previously held high-profile national security and State Department positions under former President Barack Obama. In particular, he served as the national security adviser to Biden during his tenure as vice president, and was a deputy assistant to the president during Obama's first term.

    Joe Biden took the reins of power on 20 January without key members of his Cabinet in place, as the Senate moved more slowly to schedule confirmation hearings for his nominees than for previous administrations.

    The chamber, currently made up of an equal number of GOP and Democratic senators, can confirm Cabinet nominations without Republican support, as Vice President Kamala Harris, who was also sworn in last week, has a tie-breaking vote.

    Four of Biden's 23 government nominees requiring Senate approval have already been confirmed, whereas Trump and Obama’s first nominees took an average of 20 days for confirmation.

    Joe Biden, Cabinet, US Senate, US
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