The U.S. Senate on Thursday voted 54-46 to confirm Tom Perez as the next labor secretary. The confirmation makes Perez, 51, the only Latino in President Barack Obama’s cabinet.
Perez serves as the assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department. He was nominated in March, but Senate Republicans blocked his confirmation over questions about a 2011 voting rights issue in Louisiana and for his handling of a whistle-blower case against the city of St. Paul, Minn. He is the second of Obama’s nominees to be confirmed this week; senators reached a filibuster agreement to confirm Richard Cordray as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Tuesday.
A 60-40 cloture vote on Wednesday cleared the way for Perez’s confirmation, with six Republicans crossing the aisle. Perez is the son of Dominican immigrants.