Ten Senate Democrats and one Independent voted with Republicans on Tuesday to confirm Kirstjen Nielsen as the next secretary of Homeland Security.
Nielsen was confirmed in a 62-37 vote, after advancing in other bipartisan votes at the committee level and on the Senate floor this week.
The 10 Democrats supporting him were Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons of Delaware, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Bill Nelson of Florida, Jack Reed of Rhode Island, Jon Tester of Montana, and Mark Warner of Virginia. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, also voted for Nielsen, along with 51 Republicans. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., was absent.
Nielsen previously served since July as White House deputy chief of staff behind chief of staff John Kelly, who led DHS before he became President Trump's chief of staff.
“By confirming Ms. Nielsen’s nomination to lead the DHS, this Senate will take a serious step to strengthen our nation’s security," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said on the Senate floor Tuesday. "Ms. Nielsen will be charged with leading the department at a critical time."
"With her understanding of the challenges facing our nation and her experience in prevention and preparedness, I believe that she will excel as the next Secretary of Homeland Security," McConnell said. “Her leadership will also help in providing continued assistance to the men and women still suffering from the effects of the recent natural disasters in our country. Our nation faces myriad threats, and I look forward to working with Ms. Nielsen to address each of them.”
Nielsen also served as Kelly's deputy during his brief tenure as DHS secretary until July. She shifted to the White House after Kelly accepted the chief of staff role and replaced Reince Priebus.
Nielsen replaces Acting Director Elaine Duke, who has served since July.
Prior to the Trump administration, she worked at DHS's Transportation Security Administration and served on the White House Homeland Security Council under former President George W. Bush.