WASHINGTON — The Senate confirmed
The former Pentagon general counsel will take office this week after a 78-16 vote, succeeding
An array of former officials from Democratic and Republican administrations, including all three former department secretaries, endorsed Johnson. The relationships he built with Senate
He is now charged with overseeing one of the federal government's most unwieldy departments, which encompasses 22 disparate agencies, including those responsible for immigration, border security and airport security.
"There's no doubt that even on a good day, serving as secretary of the
Nominated by President
The vote, with 16 Republicans opposed, reflected lingering resentment over the decision by Democrats to curtail the filibuster. Sen.
After confirming Johnson, the Senate moved to begin considering a more controversial choice to be Johnson's deputy: Alejandro Mayorkas. The nomination of the former top federal prosecutor in Los Angeles, currently head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, has been held up for months over allegations that he intervened to fast-track visas requested by politically connected businesses. An investigation by the department's inspector general has not been completed, but officials said they had yet to find evidence of wrongdoing.
Senate Majority Leader
Any other nomination votes would occur after the Senate votes on the House-passed budget agreement and a defense authorization bill. Work on both is set to begin Tuesday.
Reid warned Republicans that continued delaying tactics could cause the Senate to remain in session through Christmas Eve, a prospect that nonetheless seems unlikely.