By DONNA CASSATA
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Senate has confirmed Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry as the next secretary of state.
The vote was 94-3. Once sworn-in, Kerry will replace Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is stepping down after four years.
The vote came just hours after the Foreign Relations Committee approved his nomination by voice vote. Kerry has led the committee for the past four years.
The 69-year-old Kerry is a decorated Vietnam veteran and the 2004 Democratic presidential candidate.
By voice vote, the Foreign Relations Committee approved the nomination of the five-term Massachusetts Democrat, who has been a member of the committee for 28 years and led it for the past four. Kerry is the son of a diplomat, a decorated Vietnam veteran and 2004 Democratic presidential candidate.
Kerry did not attend the session in the ornate diplomatic room in the Capitol. In his absence, Democrats and Republicans praised Kerry and remarked on his extensive grasp of the issues during his confirmation hearing last Thursday.
"Long-winded," joked Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a Kerry friend who had introduced the senator at that hearing.
Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., who succeeds Kerry as committee chairman, said the senator would be "formidable secretary of state."
Obama is overhauling his national security team. The president has nominated Chuck Hagel for defense secretary and John Brennan to serve as CIA director.