The nomination expired when Congress adjourned for the holidays without voting on the matter. President Trump resubmitted Brownback’s nomination earlier this month.
With Republican Senators John McCain and Bob Corker absent, the 49-49 Vice-President Pence cast the deciding vote for confirmation.
While the vote appeared to follow party lines, it is just as likely that it followed idealogical positions. Brownback is a devout believer and an earnest supporter of religious freedom.
Opponents to his confirmation including Planned Parenthood and LGBT advocacy groups Human Rights Campaign and GLAAD. The former had labelled him as an “extreme ideologue.” The latter issued a statement that accused Governor Brownback of having a distorted view of religious freedom that poses a threat to gay rights “at home and abroad.”
Claire McCaskill, Democrat Senator from neighboring state of Missouri questioned if Brownback would use “religion as an excuse to persecute or prosecute” non-Christians.
Kansas Republican Senator Pat Roberts disagreed. “Sam Brownback has always been called to fight for those of all faiths.”
Brownback cited “17,000 kids alive” as a result of his policies that significantly reduced the abortion rate in Kansas as his greatest achievement.
The Kansas City Star, Brownback wins confirmation for Trump post as Pence breaks deadlock
The Washington Post, Senate narrowly approves Brownback for religious freedom job