The Foreign Relations Senate Committee has narrowly approved Rex Tillerson as US secretary of state, despite concerns about his business ties to Russia, the BBC reports.
It split along party lines, with all 11 Republicans voting in favour and all 10 Democrats against. A full vote will now be held in the Republican-run Senate.
The Foreign Relations Senate Committee approved Mr Tillerson after leading Republican Senator Marco Rubio dropped his opposition.
Mr Rubio sparred with Mr Tillerson, a 64-year-old Texan oilmen, during confirmation hearings earlier this month, accusing him of being soft on Russia.