Senate panel approves Trump choice to lead Homeland Security

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A key Senate committee has approved President Donald Trump’s choice to lead the Department of Homeland Security.

The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee approved Kirstjen (KEER’-stehn) Nielsen’s nomination 11-4 on Tuesday. The panel’s chairman, Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, says the full Senate could vote on Nielsen’s nomination by the end of November.

Nielsen is a former staffer at DHS who now serves as deputy White House chief of staff.

Democrats complained that Nielsen lacked the experience needed to run a major agency. They also cited concerns about possible White House interference in a recent DHS decision to send home thousands of Nicaraguans long granted U.S. protection.

Johnson dismissed those concerns and said Nielsen’s boss, White House chief of staff John Kelly, called her a “superstar.”