Senate panel approves former ExxonMobil chief executive for secretary of state

His nomination now heads to the full Senate, which should confirm him next week.

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Rex Tillerson has been approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to become Secretary of State. His nomination now heads to the full Senate, which should confirm him next week.

Sen. Marco Rubio originally did not support the idea of Tillerson becoming Secretary of State due to his views toward Russia and human rights, but has recently agreed to support the nomination. Rubio says he will support the nominee because “given the uncertainty that exists both at home and abroad about the direction of our foreign policy, it would be against our national interests to have this confirmation unnecessarily delayed or embroiled in controversy.”

Democrats, environmental groups and peace advocates are against Tillerson because they fear he might lift sanctions in Russia, where he frequently did business. They also question his human rights views, how long he would recuse himself from decisions that could affect ExxonMobil and fear his oil company’s track records of getting into business with despots.

“If I am to vote affirmatively for a nominee, I need honest and transparent answers. I simply do not feel I got them from Mr. Tillerson,” says Sen. Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat.

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