Members of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted again Thursday to approve Gov. Sam Brownback’s confirmation to become ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom.
Brownback still must be confirmed by the full Senate.
President Donald Trump nominated Brownback this summer, but getting confirmed has been an uphill climb. Brownback narrowly won committee approval in October after being grilled by Sen. Tim Kaine, a Virgina Democrat and former vice presidential nominee, on his record on LGBTQ issues and the rights of Muslim people. As governor, Brownback rescinded his predecessor’s executive order protecting state employees from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
Without a full Senate confirmation by the end of 2017, Brownback’s confirmation returned to square one. Trump nominated him again earlier this month. Brownback was in Washington last week to meet with Trump on prison reform, but his office didn’t say whether he met with senators about his confirmation.
On Twitter, Brownback thanked the committee for approving his confirmation.
Brownback initially was expected to be confirmed more quickly, and after his initial committee approval, he began delegating budget responsibilities and appointment of executive agency heads to Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, who is vying for the Republican nomination to run for governor this year. Legislators criticized Brownback for taking a step back, but after missing Senate confirmation last year, he presented the budget and gave last week’s State of the State address.
Brownback has repeatedly said he will remain in office until he is confirmed by the Senate.