Kirstjen Nielsen was confirmed by the Senate to take over as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.
Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.), Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Mark Warner (D-Va.) were among those who voted alongside their Republican colleagues to confirm the former principal deputy to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly as the new DHS secretary.
Nielsen was confirmed 62 to 37, the narrowest margin ever to approve a DHS secretary.
Nielsen will be the first cyber professional to head the agency charged with protecting federal civilian networks, leading efforts to coordinate cybersecurity of privately owned critical infrastructure.
Nielsen, 45, developed a reputation for fierce devotion to Kelly as his deputy at the White House and before that as his chief of staff at the Department of Homeland Security, which he ran from January until July. Though no GOP senator voted against her, the outcome reflected intense opposition to Trump as well as doubts about Nielsen's executive leadership experience and willingness to challenge the White House in the event of a disagreement. Republican Senator Lamar Alexander did not vote, and no Republicans voted against her confirmation.
Nielsen's successful nomination makes her the second woman, after Janet Napolitano, to be confirmed to the position.
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Nielsen has never held the top job at a federal agency or a private-sector company.
As leader of the Department of Homeland Security, Nielsen will oversee a massive bureaucracy of almost 250,000 employees that help ensure the security of the IT assets of federal civilian agencies as well as the nation's critical infrastructure. During the George W. Bush administration, she served as special assistant to the president for homeland security and senior director for prevention, preparedness and response on the White House Homeland Security Council.
In the last five months she ha been responsible for several controversial DHS decisions, including the end of temporary protected status for thousands of immigrants living in the United States.
"It has been an honor to serve as the Department's Acting Secretary, and I look forward to working alongside Ms. Nielsen as her deputy as we continue to carry out the DHS mission of safeguarding the American people, our homeland, and our values", she said in a statement.
On other topics, Nielsen said she agreed with Kelly that a U.S. -Mexico border wall is unlikely to be a physical barrier from "sea to shining sea".