Foxx confirmed for transportation chief

The Senate on Thursday confirmed Charlotte, N.C., Mayor Anthony FoxxAnthony Renard FoxxBig Dem names show little interest in Senate Lyft sues New York over new driver minimum pay law Lyft confidentially files for IPO MORE (D) as Transportation secretary in a unanimous vote.

Foxx will take over the nearly 60,000-employee Department of Transportation (DOT) from outgoing Secretary Ray LaHood, who is resigning after four years at the helm.

President Obama hailed the Senate for easily confirming his choice to lead the transportation department in his second term.

"I am pleased that the Senate today voted unanimously to confirm Anthony Foxx as the next Secretary of Transportation," Obama said in a statement. 

"Anthony knows firsthand that investing in our roads, bridges and transit systems is vital to creating good jobs and ensuring American businesses can grow and compete in a 21st century global economy," Obama continued. "I welcome Anthony to my team, and I look forward to working with him as we aim to modernize the infrastructure that powers our economy."

Prior to the appointment of Foxx, who is black, Obama had faced criticism about a lack of diversity in his second-term Cabinet appointments.

Foxx, who served as mayor of Charlotte from 2009, joins Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderParties to wage census battle with outside groups Welcome to third-world democracy and impeachment Uber settles sexual harassment charges for .4 million MORE as the second black member of Obama’s Cabinet. The president also later selected Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.), a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Watt’s nomination has not yet been scheduled for a vote in the Senate.

Foxx is the second Obama nominee to be confirmed by the Senate this week, following the approval on Tuesday of Commerce Secretary Penny PritzkerPenny Sue PritzkerBiden's new campaign ad features Obama speech praising him Obama Commerce secretary backs Biden's 2020 bid DNC hauls in .5 million in June MORE in a 97-1 vote.

Unlike Pritzker, who was once thought to be a potentially controversial Cabinet nominee, Foxx’s selection was smooth sailing all the way up to his confirmation by 100 senators on Thursday.

In his first appearance as Obama’s Transportation secretary nominee, Foxx promised to work across party lines.

“There is no such thing as a Democratic or Republican road, bridge, port, air field or rail system," Foxx said when he was introduced by Obama in April.

"We must work together across party lines to enhance this nation's infrastructure," Foxx said.

Foxx followed up that appearance at the White House with a largely congenial confirmation hearing before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.

The chairman of that committee, Sen. Jay RockefellerJohn (Jay) Davison RockefellerBottom Line World Health Day: It's time to fight preventable disease Lobbying World MORE (D-W.Va.), called Fox "absolutely superb" in an introduction of his nomination on Thursday.

Rockefeller initially favored another candidate, National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Chairwoman Deborah Hersman, for the DOT post.

But he said on Thursday that Foxx was a "superb and qualified person who is very much needed to oversee our enormous transportation system, which is trouble."  

-This story was updated with new information at 1:43 p.m.