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) ManchinThe Memo: Tide turns on Kavanaugh McCaskill to oppose Kavanaugh nomination The Memo: Kavanaugh firestorm consumes political world MORE (W.Va.), Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampThe Memo: Tide turns on Kavanaugh McCaskill to oppose Kavanaugh nomination Election Countdown: Trump confident about midterms in Hill.TV interview | Kavanaugh controversy tests candidates | Sanders, Warren ponder if both can run | Super PACs spending big | Two states open general election voting Friday | Latest Senate polls MORE (N.D.) and Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerRussia docs order sets Trump on collision with intel community Hillicon Valley: North Korean IT firm hit with sanctions | Zuckerberg says Facebook better prepared for midterms | Big win for privacy advocates in Europe | Bezos launches B fund to help children, homeless Bipartisan trio asks US intelligence to investigate ‘deepfakes’ MORE (Va.), as well as Independent Sen. Angus KingAngus Stanley KingRestoring our national parks would be a bipartisan win for Congress Restore our parks Renaming Senate office building after McCain sparks GOP backlash 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.

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Sen. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTrump, GOP regain edge in Kavanaugh battle READ: President Trump’s exclusive interview with Hill.TV The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump slams Sessions in exclusive Hill.TV interview | Kavanaugh accuser wants FBI investigation 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 CottonGOP senators condemn 'vulgar' messages directed at Collins over Kavanaugh GOP turns its fire on Google Overnight Defense: Trump denies report he's looking at Mattis replacements | Inhofe officially gets Armed Services gavel | Trump revives shutdown threat 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 SessionsTrump attack on Sessions may point to his departure Hillicon Valley: Trump's exclusive interview with Hill.TV | Trump, intel officials clash over Russia docs | EU investigating Amazon | Military gets new cyber authority | Flynn sentencing sparks new questions about Mueller probe Sessions in Chicago: If you want more shootings, listen to ACLU, Antifa, Black Lives Matter 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.