The U.S. Senate on Monday confirmed Jeh Johnson, a national security expert who has served as the Pentagon's top lawyer, as head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Johnson, who was the Defense Department's general counsel during President Barack Obama's first term, will succeed Janet Napolitano, who left in September to become the president of the University of California system.
The Senate approved Johnson on a vote of 78-16 as part of a raft of confirmations pushed forward after a recent rule change stripped Republicans of their power to block nominees with a procedural roadblock known as a filibuster.
The Senate also confirmed Anne Patterson, the U.S. ambassador to Egypt, as an assistant secretary of state for near eastern affairs. Like Johnson, she was approved by a vote of 78-16.
The Senate is also expected this week to confirm Janet Yellen as chair of the Federal Reserve, before it recesses for the year. Yellen is now the Fed's vice chair.
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