SENATE CONFIRMS LLOYD AUSTIN AS FIRST BLACK U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY
The Senate voted on Friday to confirm President Joe Biden's defense secretary pick retired Gen. Lloyd Austin, who will be the first African American to run the department, Clare Foran reported for CNN.
Austin, who retired in 2016 and had to be granted a waiver from a law requiring a defense secretary to wait seven years after active-duty service before taking the job. The House approved the waiver Thursday afternoon, followed by Senate approval of the measure.
Thursday's votes cleared the way for final confirmation in the Senate. Friday's vote was 93-2.
Republican Senators Mike Lee of Utah and Josh Hawley of Missouri were the only two no votes.
Confirmation of the defense secretary gives Biden another key department chief in place as congressional Democratic leaders attempt to move swiftly to confirm Cabinet members and other key officials following Biden's inauguration on Wednesday.
The Senate confirmed Biden's first Cabinet nominee Wednesday evening, voting to approve his pick for director of national intelligence, Avril Haines, on his first day in office.
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