The Senate, on a party- line, 54-46 vote Thursday, confirmed Thomas Perez as secretary of labor. Perez, who had been assistant attorney general for civil rights, replaces former secretary Hilda Solis, who left in January.
The Senate also voted 59-40 to confirm Gina McCarthy as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
The votes were part of a deal reached this week to avert a change in the Senate’s filibuster rule.
Perez will be the first Cabinet member of Dominican heritage — both his parents were born there. Most prior Latino cabinet members have been of Mexican heritage.
His appointment means some movement in the front office at Labor, with Ana Ma, former Solis chief of staff, likely to be replaced by Matthew Colangelo, now deputy assistant attorney general in Perez’s office.
In other action, the Senate Judiciary Committee, voted 18-0 to send the nomination of James Comey to be director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to the full Senate for its consideration. Comey, former deputy attorney general in the Bush administration, is expected to be confirmed with little difficulty.