April 23 (UPI) — CIA Director Mike Pompeo’s nomination to serve as U.S. secretary of state will be weighed Monday by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which is not expected to give its approval.
The committee’s 10 Democrats have stated their objection to Pompeo’s nomination by President Donald Trump, as has Republican Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. The remaining 10 republicans support Pompeo.
Pompeo’s nomination will still be taken to the full Senate floor, where experts say he is likely to be confirmed.
Pompeo would be the only secretary of state in modern history to be confirmed by the full Senate without first obtaining a committee endorsement. GOP Senate members are expected to vote in favor of his nomination, as are several Democrats facing re-election in red states.
In confirmation hearings, Pompeo said he opposes same-sex marriage, which prompted Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., to lead the Democrats in opposing the nominee.
As CIA Director, Pompeo has called for a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities and has expressed a hope that North Korea leader Kim Jung Un will soon be driven from power. While many Democrats regard him as extreme, they add that he has not shown independence from Trump.
Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has urged Democratic centrists to postpone any potential support for Pompeo — hoping to get concessions from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., possibly on a resolution indicating support for Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
More than 25 Democrats in the Senate have already expressed opposition to Pompeo’s nomination, including five who approved him as CIA Director in January 2017. Several have said Pompeo’s hawkish advocacy could hinder U.S. diplomacy.
The Senate is comprised of 51 Republicans and 49 Democrats, with one, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., receiving cancer treatment and unable to vote. Pompeo is nominated to replace former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.