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Independent Sen. Angus King of Maine voted along with Democratic senators to advance Tillerson's nomination. (Photo: ALA Washington Office/flickr/cc)

Enabling Trump: Angus King and These Three Dems Let Tillerson Advance

Constituents outraged as cloture vote sets up final confirmation for Secretary of State

Nadia Prupis

Three Senate Democrats and Senator Angus King (I-Maine) (202-224-5344) sparked outrage on Monday by enabling President Donald Trump's extreme agenda when they allowed the confirmation of ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson's as U.S. Secretary of State to advance in a procedural vote.

The cloture vote was 56-43, ending an attempted filibuster that needed only a simple majority to keep the confirmation from moving forward. (See the full roll call vote here.)

And while the vote went largely along party lines, the three Democrats—Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) (202-224-3954), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) (202-224-2043) and Mark Warner (Va.) (202-224-2023)—as well as King (202-224-5344), advanced Tillerson's nomination, putting him one step closer to confirmation even as other Democratic leaders scrambled to delay the decision and an energized resistance movement demands lawmakers show stronger opposition to Trump's nominees.

Now, the Senate may take their final vote on Tillerson's nomination as soon as Wednesday.

Manchin, Heitkamp, and King are up for reelection in 2018.

Kate Addleson, director of the Sierra Club's Virginia chapter, slammed Warner for his vote, stating Monday, "Senator Warner's support for advancing such a contemptible and untrustworthy nominee is extremely disappointing. If Warner remains committed to providing a positive future for Virginians and our nation, he will vote against Tillerson's confirmation."

Tillerson "is an unacceptable candidate for Secretary of State. While CEO of Exxon, he knowingly covered up the reality of climate change, showing his willingness to put his company's profits over people's health and safety," Addleson said.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) tried and failed to secure an 11th-hour delay on the vote, arguing that Tillerson should first clarify his stance on President Donald Trump's widely-denounced travel ban for immigrants from seven majority-Muslim countries.

"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.

During his confirmation hearings in January, Tillerson said he wouldn't rule out a so-called Muslim registry, but that he did not support a "blanket-type" ban on Muslim immigration into the country.

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