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Where key senators stand on Mike Pompeo's nomination to be secretary of state

Mike Pompeo met with Kim Jong Un

CIA Director Mike Pompeo is on Capitol Hill this week meeting with senators and trying to win their approval for his nomination to be secretary of state. He didn't answer a question from reporters about his recent trip to North Korea, saying only, "I'm just here working every vote," according to  CBS News' Alan He.

Secretaries of state generally enjoy very broad if not unanimous support, both in the Foreign Relations Committee and on the floor, CBS News' Nancy Cordes notes. Traditionally, senators have believed that it is important to show widespread faith in the person who will be the nation's top diplomat, even if they have some policy differences with that person. 

If the senators on the Foreign Relations Committee who say they oppose Mike Pompeo remain steadfast, he is poised to be the first secretary of state nominee not to be approved by committee vote since 1925, when committee votes were first made public. 

One member, Tim Kaine, a Democrat, told CBS News' Margaret Brennan on "Face the Nation" that he'll vote no. He and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, also a Democrat, had backed him for CIA director, enabling him to be approved by the committee, which is made up of 11 Republicans and 10 Democrats, despite GOP Sen. Rand Paul's opposition. Now, Shaheen also says she's voting against Pompeo, and Paul still opposes him, along with the rest of the Democrats on the committee, including Ranking Member Sen. Bob Menendez.

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker says the committee will vote next week on Pompeo's nomination, according to Bloomberg. Whether or not he's approved by the committee, he'll still face a vote on the Senate floor.

When Pompeo was confirmed as CIA director in January last year, the Senate looked a little different. Republicans held a slim majority of 52-48. That count includes two independents who caucus with Democrats. At that time, most but not all Democrats voted against Pompeo, but he still won over 14, and two did not vote. The two independents split -- Angus King, of Maine, voted for him, while Bernie Sanders, of Vermont, opposed him. Of those who voted against him, one was a Republican -- Sen. Rand Paul, of Kentucky. 

Here are the Democrats who supported him for CIA director, as well as the two who abstained:

Democratic yea votes: 

  1. Joe Donnelly, D-Indiana
  2. Dianne Feinstein, D-California
  3. Maggie Hassan, D-New Hampshire
  4. Heidi Heitkamp, D-North Dakota
  5. Tim Kaine, D-Virginia
  6. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota
  7. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia
  8. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri
  9. Jack Reed, D-Rhode Island
  10. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii
  11. Charles Schumer, D-New York
  12. Jeanne Shaheen, D-New Hampshire
  13. Mark Warner, D-Virginia
  14. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-Rhode Island

Independent yea vote:

Angus King, I-Maine

Didn't vote:

  1. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut
  2. Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut

In April 2018, the GOP margin is even slimmer. Alabama now has a Democratic senator, Doug Jones. That made the split 51-49. And there's another factor now, too: John McCain is battling brain cancer at home in Arizona. That means that effectively, for the time being, the Senate is now split 50-49. Rand Paul has announced that he'll oppose Pompeo again, so that means that if every other Republican votes for Pompeo, he would still need one Democrat to vote in order to be confirmed. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-North Dakota became that senator Thursday, announcing she would support his nomination. 

However, after President Trump said Wednesday that Paul has "never let me down and I don't think he'll let us down again," the Kentucky Republican agreed to meet with Pompeo before the committee vote, but he said, "At this point, I think it would take a great deal to move me." He said his "main complaint" about Pompeo has always been "I don't think he shares the same vision as the president on foreign policy."

Pompeo may be making inroads with Sen. Bill Nelson, too. The Florida Democrat voted against him for CIA director, but he told reporters Wednesday that the trip to North Korea put Pompeo in "a better light." He supports the trip and said he had voted against Pompeo as CIA director because he thought he would be "too political." Now, on the secretary of state vote, Nelson says he's undecided.

Otherwise, support among Democrats is not as strong as it was for Pompeo's confirmation as CIA director. Some of the Democrats who supported him last time have already announced their opposition, and until Thursday, not a single Democrat had promised to support him. Heitkamp became the first. Jones, the recently elected Democratic senator from Alabama, has said he's open to supporting him. Jeff Flake, a Republican who voted yes on Pompeo for CIA director, said he is undecided. Of those on the list above, here's where they stand:


  1. Heidi Heitkamp, D-North Dakota
  2. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia
  3. Joe Donnelly, D-Indiana


  1. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut
  2. Dianne Feinstein, D-California 
  3. Tim Kaine, D-Virginia 
  4. Jeanne Shaheen, D-New Hampshire
  5. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota
  6. Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut
  7. Jack Reed, D-Rhode island
  8. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii
  9. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-Rhode Island 
  10. Maggie Hassan, D-New Hampshire

Not known: 

  1. Mark Warner, D-Virginia


  1. Angus King, I-Maine
  2. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri
  3. Charles Schumer, D-New York
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