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Senate Approves First Openly Gay Army Secretary

The Senate approved Eric Fanning to lead the Army on Tuesday, making him the first openly gay army secretary in US history.

The Hill reports:

The Senate confirmed Fanning by unanimous consent after his nomination had been held in limbo for months because of a fight over the Guantánamo Bay detention center.

Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) said Tuesday that he had dropped his hold on Fanning’s nomination because the “clock has run out” for the president to move Guantánamo Bay detainees into the United States.

The Pentagon previously sent teams to Kansas to examine potential alternatives for housing Guantánamo Bay detainees.

“My issue has never — let me be very clear — has never been with Mr. Fanning’s character, his courage or his capability,” Roberts said Tuesday. “He will be a tremendous leader as Army secretary.”

Fanning was previously the acting secretary and undersecretary of the Air Force. The Senate Armed Services Committee, led by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), approved Fanning’s nomination in March, and Roberts blocked McCain from bringing up Fanning’s nomination last month.

McCain thanked Roberts for lifting his hold and praised his work on the Senate’s National Defense Authorization Act, which largely holds the line on current Guantánamo Bay restrictions.

“These provisions confirm that President Obama will not be able to move detainees to the mainland … in the coming year,” McCain said.

The Arizona Republican has said that legislation could reach the Senate floor as soon as next week.

Photo credit: Barbwire.com.

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