John Kerry at his confirmation hearing last week. (AP Photo)
Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) at his confirmation hearing for secretary of state last week. (AP Photo)

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has approved Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) as the 68th secretary of state, by a unanimous voice vote. The full Senate will vote on Kerry's nomination later today.

The unanimous vote is not much of a surprise; Kerry sailed through his four-hour confirmation hearing. As Anne Gearan wrote:

Kerry outlined no grand agenda for the next four years. The closest he got to a foreign policy mission statement was the observation that “more than ever, foreign policy is economic policy.” That means the United States must do better in the global competition for resources and markets, where it is being outmaneuvered by more nimble or aggressive nations, he said.

Kerry has served on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for 28 years and been its chairman for the past four. Assuming he is confirmed, he will replace outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and set in motion a special election for his Senate seat.

Kerry is not expected to vote Tuesday for his own confirmation as secretary of state, meaning he likely has cast his final Senate vote. The vote came Monday night, at 6:19 p.m. ET, when he voted to approve more than $50 billion in federal aid for communities affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Already adjusting to the trappings of his new office, Kerry has been trailed by Diplomatic Security officers since his testimony before the foreign relations panel.

Ed O'Keefe contributed to this report.