John Kerry confirmed as secretary of state

The Senate overwhelmingly approved Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) as the next secretary of state Tuesday afternoon, with three Republican “no” votes.

The vote was 94 to 3, clearing the way for Kerry to formally take over from Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Friday.

He assumes the post amid a civil war in Syria that has killed an estimated 60,000, stalled nuclear negotiations with Iran and the spread of militancy across North Africa. U.S. relations with Russia are at a low point, the United States is struggling to manage a changing relationship with a rising China and the prospects for new Mideast peace efforts appear dim.

Three Republicans voted against Kerry — Texas Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn and Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma.

Read the whole story.

Anne Gearan is a national politics correspondent for The Washington Post.

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