Senate panel approves Kerry for State

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously approved Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) to be the next secretary of State on Tuesday, setting up a vote on the Senate floor later in the day.

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Kerry, the former chairman of the committee, received a voice vote from his colleagues. His nomination had been expected to sail through after Republicans urged President Obama to nominate him instead of Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, after her role in the administration's reaction to the Benghazi attacks last year.

The Senate is scheduled to consider Kerry's nomination for two hours starting at 2:15 p.m., setting up a vote shortly after 4 p.m. Here's the guidance Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) sent to lawmakers on Tuesday: 

"The Majority Leader asks unanimous consent that at 2:15 p.m., today, the Senate proceed to Executive Session to consider Executive Calendar #1, the nomination of John Forbes Kerry, of Massachusetts, to be Secretary of State with 2 hours for debate equally divided in the usual form; that upon the use or yielding back of time the Senate proceed to vote without intervening action or debate on the nomination; the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate; that no further motions be in order; that any related statements be printed in the Record; that the President be immediately notified of the Senate's action and the Senate then resume legislative session."

Hillary Clinton has said her last day on the job will be Friday.