Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback announces resignation

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Vice President Mike Pence came in to cast tie-breaking votes after the Senate locked 49-49 on both a procedural vote and the confirmation vote on Kansas Gov.

"I extend my best wishes to Lieutenant Governor Colyer as he assumes this office, and I have every confidence that he will serve the state well", Brownback says.

Audio will be available later today.

Trump first nominated Brownback to the position in July, but Brownback did not receive a confirmation vote a year ago after facing opposition from Democrats over his socially-conservative views. The final vote was delayed almost three weeks because several Republican leaders wavered amid skepticism about whether the lease-purchase deal was the most cost-effective option.

But Brownback was expected to be approved after Republicans lined up behind his nomination.

Several Democrats expressed concern about Brownback's ideology. Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Bob Corker of Tennessee were absent.

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Pence arrived in the chamber Wednesday afternoon and cast the final vote to cut off debate on Brownback's nomination.

As a two-term governor, he has a remarkable pro-life record, helping to make Kansas one of the most pro-life states.

Brownback, a devout Catholic, would be the fifth person to run the State Department's Office of International Religious Freedom. "We are deeply disappointed that the Senate has chosen to confirm Brownback's nomination".

As Ambassador, Brownback is tasked with promoting religious freedom as a key objective of USA foreign policy while monitoring religious persecution and discrimination around the world.

During a confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in October, Brownback refused to answer Sen. The position has existed since 1998 and was previously held by Rabbi David Saperstein, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama and the only non-Christian to hold the position. Tim Kaine of Virginia asked Brownback if there was any circumstance in which religious freedom could justify "criminalizing, imprisoning or executing" someone based on sexual orientation.

"We will rue the day, I believe", said Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, a Topeka Democrat.

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