McConnell to force vote on Trump's State Department pick
© Greg Nash

Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP strategist donates to Alabama Democrat McConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Brent Budowsky: A plea to Alabama voters MORE (R-Ky.) is moving the Senate toward voting on President Trump's secretary of State pick as Republicans try to break a logjam on nominations.

"I'll be filing cloture on Secretary of State nominee [Rex] Tillerson, which will ripen next week," McConnell told reporters during a weekly press conference.

The move would set up a procedural vote early next week and get Tillerson through the Senate by the end of the week.

Democrats are lining up against Tillerson, voicing concerns about his ties to Russia and positions on human rights.

But they will need GOP support to block the pick. Republicans have a 52-seat majority, and Tillerson will only need 50 votes to be approved.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved Tillerson's nomination Monday on a party-line vote.

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The Senate has approved three Trump nominees so far, well behind the 12 selections confirmed during the first week of the Obama administration.

McConnell noted that he was "hopeful" an additional nominee would be approved Tuesday afternoon, but added that he would need a deal from Democrats.

The Senate is wrapping up its work for the week on Tuesday as Republicans prepare to decamp to Philadelphia for an annual retreat.

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Air Force makes criminal reporting changes after Texas massacre We need a better pathway for allowing civilians to move guns across state lines MORE (R-Texas) pointed to Elaine Chao, Ben Carson and Gov. Nikki Haley (R-S.C.), who were each voted out of committees, as possible noncontroversial votes.

"[Democrats] need to get with the program on approving these noncontroversial nominees," he said.

The three have been named to run Trump's Transportation and Housing and Urban Development departments, respectively, and serve as ambassador to the United Nations.