The Senate Armed Services Committee has overwhelmingly passed legislation to allow retired Marine Gen. James Mattis to run the Pentagon.
The Republican-led panel voted 24-3 to clear the bill after Mattis testified before the committee. Democrats Kirsten Gillibrand, Richard Blumenthal and Elizabeth Warren opposed it.
The measure overrides a prohibition against former U.S. service members who have been out of uniform for less than seven years from holding the job. Mattis retired from the Marine Corps as a four-star general in 2013. He had been a battlefield commander for most of his career.
The full Senate and House must approve the bill before sending it to the president.