- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 24, 2018

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The U.S. Senate has taken a key step toward confirming Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s nomination for an ambassador’s post.

After senators voted 49-49 Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence broke the tie in Brownback’s favor. The vote ended debate on Brownback’s nomination by President Donald Trump to be U.S. ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom.

The action starts a 30-hour clock on holding a final vote, though it could come sooner.

Trump first nominated Brownback for the ambassador’s post in July but Democrats and LGBT groups opposed his appointment.

In 2015, Brownback rescinded an executive order from a previous Democratic governor banning discrimination in state hiring and employment against LGBT individuals.

Brownback would resign as governor if he is confirmed. Republican Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer would be elevated to governor.

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