John Kerry has been confirmed as the new U.S. secretary of state.

The U.S. Senate voted Tuesday to approve the five-term senator from Massachusetts for the position in President Barack Obama's cabinet.

The Senate voted 94-3, with Kerry voting present. Hours earlier, the Foreign Relations Committee unanimously approved the man who has led the panel for four years.

The AP reported earlier:

Obama tapped Kerry, 69, the son of a diplomat, decorated Vietnam veteran and 2004 Democratic presidential candidate, to succeed Clinton, who is stepping down after four years. The Massachusetts Democrat, who had pined for the job but was passed over in 2009, has served as Obama's unofficial envoy, smoothing fractious ties with Afghanistan and Pakistan.

"Sen. Kerry will need no introduction to the world's political and military leaders and will begin Day One fully conversant not only with the intricacies of U.S. foreign policy, but able to act on a multitude of international stages," said Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., who will succeed Kerry as committee chairman.

Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, the panel's top Republican, called Kerry "a realist" who will deal with unrest in Egypt, civil war in Syria, the threat of al-Qaida-linked groups in Africa and Iran's pursuit of a nuclear weapons.

Kerry, a forceful proponent of climate change legislation, also will have a say in whether the United States moves ahead on the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada, a divisive issue that has roiled environmentalists.


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  • John Kerry (2013-Present)

    John Kerry leaves a Senate Foreign Relations Committee markup on Jan. 29, 2013 after a vote was held on his confirmation as Secretary of State. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Hillary Clinton (2009-13)

    U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks at a press conference on November 14, 2012. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Condoleezza Rice (2005-09)

    Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice talks about the State Department's 2007 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices during a March 11, 2008 briefing in Washington. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Colin Powell (2001-05)

    U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell speaks on June 22, 2004, about a corrected version of an inaccurate terrorism report issued by the government. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Madeleine Albright (1997-2001)

    U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright delivers a Russia policy briefing on September 16, 1999 in Washington. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Warren Christopher (1993-97)

    U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher briefs reporters on the peace process in Bosnia during a Dec. 8, 1995 press conference. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Lawrence Eagleburger (1992-93)

    Then-acting Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger listens to a reporter's question during a Nov. 18, 1992 news conference at the State Department. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • James Baker (1989-92)

    James Baker III waves to his associates at the US State Department on August 13, 1992. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • George P. Shultz (1982-89)

    U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz listens to a question during his first day of testimony before Iran-Contra investigators on July 23, 1987 in Washington. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Alexander Haig (1981-82)

    Alexander Haig, Secretary of State-designate, a Reagan nominee on Monday, Dec. 23, 1980 in Washington for the announcement of selections. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Edmund Muskie (1980-81)

    (Pictured left) Freed hostage Richard Queen, right, greets well wishers at the State Department on Monday, July 21, 1980 in Washington. At left is Secretary of State Edmund Muskie. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Cyrus Vance (1977-80)

    Cyrus Vance, U.S. Secretary of State, pictured in 1979. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Henry Kissinger (1973-77)

    Secretary of State Henry Kissinger announces during an April 29, 1975 press conference in Washington that the evacuation of Americans from Vietnam and Saigon is complete, thus ending US involvement. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • William P. Rogers (1969-73)

    Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, left, and Secretary of State William P. Rogers begin talks at the Department of State on Feb. 7, 1972 in Washington. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Dean Rusk (1961-69)

    Secretary of State Dean Rusk is shown during a news conference in Washington, D.C., on March 1, 1962. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Christian Herter (1959-61)

    President Dwight Eisenhower, left, says goodbye to Secretary of State Christian Herter in Gettsburg, Pennsylvania, on May 2, 1959 as Herter is about to board a helicopter on the President's farm to return to Washington. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • John Foster Dulles (1953-59)

    U.S. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles (left) gets together with South Korean President Syngman Rhee in Seoul on August 4, 1953. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Dean Acheson (1949-53)

    U.S. Secretary of State Dean Acheson speaks from the State Department on Nov. 29, 1950 in Washington. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • George C. Marshall (1947-49)

    Gen. George C. Marshall poses in his Red Cross office on Sept. 13, 1950 in Washington. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • James F. Byrnes (1945-47)

    James F. Byrnes, United States Secretary of State, links arms with Associated Press correspondent, John Hightower, at Central Hall, Westminster in London, Jan. 15, 1946. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Edward Reilly Stettinius (1944-45)

    France's Foreign Minister Georges Bidault makes a VE Day radio statement from the Opera House in San Francisco, CA, May 8, 1945. Seated at the far right U.S. Secretary of State Edward Stettinius. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>) <em><strong>Correction</strong>: An earlier version of this text misspelled Stettinius' surname.</em>

  • Cordell Hull (1933-44)

    U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt is greeted by Secretary of State Cordell Hull on Sept. 15, 1938 in Washington. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Henry Lewis Stimson (1929-33)

    Henry Lewis Stimson, American Secretary of State for War shown around July 1931. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Frank B. Kellogg (1925-29)

    Former United States Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg on Aug. 17, 1936 at Waterloo Station in London. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)

  • Charles Evans Hughes (1921-25)

    (Center) Former Secretary of State and Chief justice Charles Evans Hughes, pictured on on March 27, 1931. (Source: <a href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/former/">U.S. Department Of State</a>)