WASHINGTON, Feb. 16 (UPI) -- The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Wednesday approved Robert Zoellick's nomination to be deputy secretary of state.
Approved by voice vote, the outgoing United States Trade Representative will be returning to the State Department, where he was undersecretary for economic affairs in George H.W. Bush's administration, once Zoellick gains full Senate approval, which is expected as soon as the end of this week.
He replaces the outgoing No. 2 at the State Department, Richard Armitage, who had a reputation for being a counterbalance to the neoconservatives within the Bush administration who pushed for the invasion of Iraq.
Zoellick's nomination has been relatively controversy free, not receiving nearly the same level of Senate oversight that Secretary of State Condolezza Rice received. He is expected to have little, if any, Senate opposition.