Tillerson clears key Senate hurdle
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Former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson cleared a key hurdle on Monday evening, setting the Senate up to confirm him to lead the State Department later this week.

Senators voted 56-43 on a procedural hurdle, with only a simple majority needed to move forward.

Democratic Sens. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinOvernight Finance: House sends Dodd-Frank rollbacks to Trump | What's in the bill | Trump says there is 'no deal' to help ZTE | Panel approves bill to toughen foreign investment reviews House votes to ease regulation of banks, sending bill to Trump Senators demand answers on Trump’s ZTE deal MORE (W.Va.), Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampOvernight Finance: Trump signs Dodd-Frank rollback | Snubs key Dems at ceremony | Senate confirms banking regulator | Lawmakers lash out on Trump auto tariffs Trump signs Dodd-Frank rollback Trump doesn't invite key Dems to signing ceremony on their bill MORE (N.D.) and Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerThe Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — The art of walking away from the deal Giuliani: Trump asked White House lawyer to go to Russia briefings Top Intel Dems denounce presence of Trump lawyer at classified briefings MORE (Va.), as well as Independent Sen. Angus KingAngus Stanley KingFor .2 billion, taxpayers should get more than Congress’s trial balloons Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by PCMA — Trump hits federally funded clinics with new abortion restrictions Dem senators ask drug companies to list prices in ads MORE (Maine) voted to move forward with Tillerson's nomination. Manchin, Heitkamp and King are up for reelection in 2018.

The move sets up the Senate to take a final vote on Tillerson as early as Wednesday, if senators don't yield back any of the 30-hours of debate time.

Sen. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis Schumer'Right to try' is a win for patient rights and President Trump Overnight Finance: White House planning new tax cut proposal this summer | Schumer wants Congress to block reported ZTE deal | Tech scrambles to comply with new data rules OPEC and Russia may raise oil output under pressure from Trump MORE (D-N.Y.), the Senate's top Democrat, made a failed eleventh hour attempt to delay the vote on Tillerson's nomination.

Schumer argued that Tillerson should be delayed until he weights in on Trump's executive order temporarily banning immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S.

"Democrats and Republicans alike and the American people most of all deserve to know whether Mr. Tillerson would implement this executive order or not because it seems to directly contradict comments he made under oath to a committee," Schumer said.

Democrats introduced legislation on Monday to unravel Trump's executive order, but the proposals likely face an uphill battle in a Republican-controlled Congress.

Democrats have also raised questions over Tillerson's relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin and that he wouldn't explicitly support new Russia sanctions during his confirmation hearing.

Sen. Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonSenate confirms Haspel to head CIA Democrats urge colleagues to oppose prison reform bill Trump-backed prison reforms face major obstacles in Senate MORE (R-Ark.) objected to Schumer's request.

He argued that if Democrats want to help combat the refugee crisis and the ongoing war in Syria, "I suggest we get to work and confirm Rex Tillerson to be secretary of State and Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsKamala Harris: Trump should send officials to testify on immigration policy separating migrant families Trump blames Democrats for separating migrant families at the border Dem lawmaker to Melania: Your husband separating immigrant children from their parents is not a 'Be Best' policy  MORE to be attorney general."

Tillerson cleared the Foreign Relations Committee last week along a party-line vote. Sessions is expected to be passed out of the Judiciary Committee on Tuesday morning.

Democrats face an uphill battle to block any of Trump's nominees, who will need a simple majority to clear the upper chamber. Republicans hold a 52-seat majority.