The U.S. Senate is expected to confirm Antony Blinken as the new secretary of state in a vote scheduled for January 26.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (Democrat-New York) set the vote for President Joe Biden’s nominee after the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 15-3 in favor of his appointment on January 25.
Blinken is expected to be confirmed with strong bipartisan support. Many lawmakers, including some Republicans, have urged the Senate to act quickly on the confirmation so that work can begin on a host of issues on the international stage.
Secretary of state is “vital to U.S. national security,” Senator Bob Menendez (Democrat-New Jersey) said on Twitter. “The Senate must confirm him quickly. No one is more qualified to begin repairing our relationships around the world.”
If confirmed, Blinken would succeed Mike Pompeo, who was one of President Donald Trump’s longest-serving cabinet members.
Blinken will be tasked with renewing American diplomacy and global engagement after four years of Trump’s “America First” policy marked by disdain for international institutions and clashes with allies and competitors alike.
Among his first priorities will be to de-escalate soaring tensions with Iran, rebuild damaged relations with allies, and manage an increasingly fraught relationship with China.
After serving as national-security adviser to Biden during his terms as vice president, Blinken became deputy national-security adviser under President Barack Obama, and later the No. 2 at the State Department.
Before that Blinken worked as the Democratic staff director of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when Biden was the committee’s chairman.