Senate OKs 7 Obama picks, but Cornyn blocks Clinton

The Senate on Tuesday granted quick and unanimous approval for seven agency nominees in the Obama administration, about half of a longer wish list that Democratic leaders had circulated Monday.

Sen. Ken Salazar (D-Colo.) was one of the seven appointments confirmed by unanimous consent. He will serve as Obama’s secretary of the Department of the Interior.

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Senators also approved Energy Secretary nominee Steven Chu, Education Secretary nominee Arne DuncanArne DuncanTrump administration is putting profits over students Chicago to make future plans a graduation requirement: report Top Education official resigned over dispute with DeVos: report MORE, Homeland Security Secretary nominee Janet Napolitano, Office of Management and Budget Director nominee Peter Orszag, Agriculture Secretary nominee Tom VilsackThomas J. VilsackUSDA: Farm-to-school programs help schools serve healthier meals OVERNIGHT MONEY: House poised to pass debt-ceiling bill MORE and Veterans Affairs Secretary nominee Eric ShinsekiEric ShinsekiHouse approves VA bill, sending it to Trump Senate backs bill making it easier to fire VA employees Shulkin confirmed to lead Dept. of Veterans Affairs MORE.

The approvals were about half of a list of 15 names that Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidThe Memo: Trump pulls off a stone-cold stunner The Memo: Ending DACA a risky move for Trump Manchin pressed from both sides in reelection fight MORE (D-Nev.) had circulated Monday to ascertain GOP objections. Their approval was likely since little controversy had arisen over their appointments.

Salazar and Napolitano, for example, told The Hill that they were unaware of any GOP opposition to them.

Reid also announced Tuesday that the Senate will vote at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday on Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s (D-N.Y.) nomination as secretary of State.

Obama hoped to have Clinton confirmed on Tuesday, but the New York Democrat’s nomination was blocked by National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John CornynJohn CornynNew GOP ObamaCare repeal bill gains momentum Week ahead: Senators near deal to stabilize ObamaCare markets GOP eying 'blue slip' break to help Trump fill the courts MORE (R-Texas). He cited conflict-of-interest concerns over President Bill ClintonBill ClintonGOP rep: North Korea wants Iran-type nuclear deal Lawmakers, pick up the ball on health care and reform Medicaid The art of the small deal MORE’s foundation.

Cornyn issued a statement Tuesday that said, “Important questions remain unanswered concerning the Clinton Foundation and its acceptance of donations from foreign entities.

“Transparency transcends partisan politics and the American people deserve to know more,” Cornyn said.

Sen. David VitterDavid VitterYou're fired! Why it's time to ditch the Fed's community banker seat Overnight Energy: Trump set to propose sharp cuts to EPA, energy spending Former La. official tapped as lead offshore drilling regulator MORE (R-La.) cited the same reason when he also opposed Clinton’s nomination when it came before the Foreign Relations Committee last week.

Speaking on the floor about the successful confirmations, Reid said they would help Obama develop his legislative strategy and begin working with the Senate as soon as possible.

“President Obama has nominated a Cabinet of exceptionally bright and capable people. They represent a cross section of our country, geographically and politically,” Reid said. “It is up to us, Democrats and Republicans in the Senate, to confirm these worthy nominees quickly so that they, along with our new president, can hit the ground running.”

The list Reid circulated Monday also included would-be Attorney General Eric HolderEric H. HolderJuan Williams: Momentum builds against gerrymandering GOP worries as state Dems outperform in special elections House votes to curb asset seizures MORE. His nomination has been more controversial because of his role in the Marc Rich pardon case, although a couple Republicans have announced they will support him and he seems likely to be confirmed.

Rep. Hilda Solis (D-Calif.), Obama’s pick for Labor secretary, was also on the list.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who goes before the Finance Committee for a 10 a.m. hearing Wednesday, is certain to face questions over his personal tax delinquency that was announced last week. Still, several Republicans offered support for Geithner when the tax story broke last week, suggesting he is likely to win confirmation.