Senate approves Johnson to head U.S. Homeland Security

WASHINGTON Mon Dec 16, 2013 7:46pm EST

Jeh Johnson testifies before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee confirmation hearing on his nomination to be the Homeland Security Secretary on Capitol Hill in Washington November 13, 2013. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

Jeh Johnson testifies before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee confirmation hearing on his nomination to be the Homeland Security Secretary on Capitol Hill in Washington November 13, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Yuri Gripas

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - 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.

Obama said in a statement that he was pleased that Johnson was confirmed with broad bipartisan support.

"Jeh will play a leading role in our efforts to protect the homeland against terrorist attacks, adapt to changing threats, stay prepared for natural disasters, strengthen our border security, and make our immigration system fairer - while upholding the values, civil liberties, and laws that make America great," he said.

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.

(Reporting by Deborah Charles and Thomas Ferraro; Editing by Christopher Wilson and Andre Grenon)

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Comments (4)
Bighammerman wrote:
Another “YES” man who will do whatever the future dictator tells him to do. Me thinks the guy is not exactly a patriot.

Dec 16, 2013 11:35pm EST  --  Report as abuse
AZreb wrote:
Rubber-stamped approval – now it is not policy to question the designees of the White House.

Another lawyer? Maybe Shakespeare was right, but just get rid of them and not kill them.

Dec 17, 2013 7:31am EST  --  Report as abuse
gcf1965 wrote:
“and make our immigration system fairer” ……meaning that he will give preferred treatment to those he thinks he can buy votes from by taking what I work for and giving it to illegal invaders from the south and from abroad. Nothing like using soemthing that doesnt belong to you to purchase votes in order to retain your criminal and corrupt hold on the nation. obama and all his little minions make me physically ill.

Dec 17, 2013 9:37am EST  --  Report as abuse
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