The Senate voted to confirm three of President Obama’s State Department nominees Tuesday evening.
Richard Stengel was confirmed to be Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy on a 90-8 vote.
And Charles Hammerman Rivkin was confirmed to be an Assistant Secretary of State on Economic and Business Affairs on a 92-6 vote.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) said all three were “highly qualified nominees” but called for the Senate to move more quickly on other pending nominations.
The Senate also considered and confirmed by voice-vote the nomination of Sloan Gibson to be Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
Votes on the nominees came while the Senate waited for the House to pass a clean debt ceiling increase, which would allow the government to borrow money until March 2015 — well after the November midterm elections.
The House passed that extension in a 221-201 vote. If the Senate takes up the measure before leaving for a weeklong recess Friday, lawmakers will easily meet the Feb. 27 deadline from the Treasury Department to avoid default.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said the Senate would wait to hold anymore votes until Wednesday. He said he hoped to reach an agreement with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to hold a series of votes at 11:30 a.m. so lawmakers could avoid a snow storm expected to hit Washington, D.C., Wednesday night.
— This article was updated at 6:45 p.m.