Senate Confirms Brownback as Religious Freedom Ambassador

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Joshua Gill Religion Reporter
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Vice President Mike Pence broke a second senate vote tie Wednesday, confirming Gov. Sam Brownback as Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom.

Pence broke a 49 to 49 Senate deadlock for the second time in one day, confirming Brownback, a Republican, to his ambassadorial position and making it Pence’s overall 8th time to cast a tie-breaking vote as Vice President. Brownback will resign as Governor of Kansas and be succeeded by Kansas Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer. The senate made a motion to reconsider Brownback’s confirmation, that will be laid before President Donald Trump, though Trump is unlikely to approve the motion.

Democrats adamantly opposed Brownback’s confirmation, citing concerns over his stance toward the LGBT community and alleging that Brownback also did not value women’s religious rights.

Conservatives, however, cheered Brownback’s confirmation and professed confidence in his future service as the ambassador of international religious freedom in light of a track record that, in their view, displays Brownback’s commitment to defending religious freedom both in the U.S. and abroad. Brownback was instrumental in developing and passing the 1998 International Freedom Act.

Kansas GOP Sens. Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts also voted to confirm Brownback’s nomination and published statements hailing the vote’s result.

Pence’s tie breaking vote tied him with Vice Presidents Richard Nixon, Alben Barkley, and Dick Cheney for the second most tie-breaking senate votes from a U.S. Vice President. Vice President John Calhoun holds the ultimate record with 31 tie-breaking votes.

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