Former Southern California utility executive John Bryson was confirmed Thursday by the Senate to be President Obama’s next Commerce secretary.
Obama's nomination of Bryson initially had run into opposition from Senate Republicans who threatened to withhold support until three long-awaited trade pacts came to fruition. Congress approved the trade agreements last week.
With Obama poised to sign the trade deals with South Korea, Panama and Colombia into law Friday, the nomination cleared the Senate. The vote was 74 to 26.
Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California said Bryson was “well suited” for his new role. Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) said he was an “exceptional choice.”