Sen. Rand Paul, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, said in a series of tweets sent just before the panel was scheduled to gavel into session, that he would support the nomination of CIA Director Mike Pompeo to be Secretary of State.
“Having received assurances from President Trump and Director Pompeo that he agrees with the President on these important issues, I have decided to support his nomination to be our next Secretary of State,” Paul said
The Kentucky Republican’s move gave the GOP some breathing room on the nomination. But Republicans still have to contend with the absence of Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga. His absence from the panel vote means the GOP cannot favorably report the nomination on its own.
Isakson is expected in Washington very late Monday, after delivering a eulogy for a friend in Atlanta, according to his office.
Isakson is planning to vote in favor of the nomination by proxy at the Foreign Relations Committee, which it appears would require consent of committee members because it will be determinative.
Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker of Tennessee suggested that he would be needing the “indulgence” of members, and in a show of comity delayed calling the Pompeo vote before Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., arrived.