The Senate confirmed Jeh Johnson today to be the next Secretary of Homeland Security, the first African American to hold the position.
The Senate voted 78 to 16 to confirm Johnson, a former Pentagon lawyer, to the top post at the Department of Homeland Security.
Johnson served as general counsel to the Defense Department during most of President Obama’s first term. He previously served as a general counsel to the U.S. Air Force during President Bill Clinton’s administration and spent nearly a decade as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York.
Johnson will replace former DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, who stepped down from the position this summer to become president of the University of California system.
Johnson’s confirmation is the latest in a string of nominations the Senate has approved over the past week. The Senate was engaged in a months-long fight over some of the president’s nominees until Senate Democrats changed the filibuster rule using the so-called nuclear option last month.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid indicated today that he hopes the Senate will confirm Janet Yellen to be the chairwoman of the Federal Reserve by the end of the week. Yellen would be the first woman to head the Federal Reserve.