Secretary of State: Senate panel to vote on Kerry nomination today

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., sits before the committee he has served on for 28 years and led for the past four as he seeks confirmation as U.S. secretary of state, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Kerry, who is likely to face friendly questioning on a smooth path to approval, is President Barack Obama's choice to succeed Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton who is stepping down after four years as America's top diplomat. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., sits before the committee he has served on for 28 years and led for the past four as he seeks confirmation as U.S. secretary of state, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Kerry, who is likely to face friendly questioning on a smooth path to approval, is President Barack Obama's choice to succeed Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton who is stepping down after four years as America's top diplomat. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON — The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is scheduled to vote Tuesday on President Barack Obama's nomination of Sen. John Kerry to be the next secretary of state.

If approved, the nomination would move to the full Senate, which is expected to act swiftly on the choice.

Obama chose the five-term Massachusetts senator and 2004 Democratic presidential candidate to succeed Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is stepping down after four years.

Kerry has served on the Foreign Relations panel for 28 years and led the committee for the last four. He is the son of a diplomat and a decorated Vietnam veteran.

Obama is overhauling his national security team. The president has nominated Chuck Hagel for defense secretary and John Brennan to serve as CIA director.

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