WASHINGTON — No Republicans voted for the nomination of Thomas Perez to be Secretary of Labor Thursday, as he was confirmed on a 54-46 party-line vote for the position.
Following a supportive speech by Sen. Tom Harkin, the Senate voted on the nomination of the person who had served under Attorney General Eric Holder as the head of the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division.
On Wednesday, six Republicans had voted for cloture on Perez's nomination, allowing Thursday's vote to go forward: Sens. Lamar Alexander, Susan Collins, Bob Corker, Mark Kirk, John McCain and Lisa Murkowski. They all voted "no" on the confirmation vote Thursday.
In a statement, President Obama said, "I welcome today's confirmation of Tom Perez to serve as Secretary of Labor. Tom has lived the American dream himself, and has dedicated his career to keeping it within reach for hardworking families across the country. At the Department of Labor, Tom will help us continue to grow our economy, help businesses create jobs, make sure workers have the skills those jobs require, and ensure safe workplaces and economic opportunity for all."
Not mentioning Thursday's vote, Obama did reference the Wednesday vote that allowed Thursday's confirmation vote to go forward, saying, "I want to thank the Senate once again for agreeing to move forward on Tom and the other nominees who have waited far too long for the yes-or-no votes they deserve."
Earlier this year, another of Obama's second-term cabinet selections, now-Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, had faced similar resistance from Republicans. Come the final vote, though, three Republicans had joined the Democrats to vote for his confirmation.
[This post has been updated to include President Obama's statement.]