Former ExxonMobil chief executive Rex Tillerson won the backing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Monday to be secretary of state when it voted 11-10 to send his nomination to the full Senate.
Sen. Marco Rubio was a long hold-out and potential "no" vote after he raised concerns about Tillerson's views toward Russia and human rights. But the Florida Republican announced earlier Monday that he would support the nomination. If Rubio had voted no, it could have stalled Tillerson, although GOP leaders planned to move his nomination to the floor regardless.
A final confirmation vote by the full Senate is expected next week, according to leadership aides from each party. Monday's committee vote split along party lines, with Republicans backing Trump's nominee and Democrats opposing.
But the Democrats catalogued a series of concerns, including his stance on Russia, human rights, how long he would recuse himself from decisions that could affect ExxonMobil, and the oil company's track record of doing business with despots.
Earlier, secretary of state nominee Rex Tillerson said he would back lethal aid to Ukraine if Russia continues its aggression in the Donbas.