A senate panel on Thursday approved the nomination of President Barack Obama's pick of Timothy Geithner to head the Treasury Department.

The Senate Finance Committee voted 18-5 on Thursday in favor of Geithner, which opens the way for a full Senate vote by Friday or next week, according to the Associated Press.

Geithner's approval comes a day after he explained to senators why he failed to pay $34,000 in taxes in several years ago.