The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee has voted to forward President Bush's nominee for attorney general to the full Senate.
The panel advanced the nomination of Michael Mukasey Tuesday by a vote of 11 - 8. He is expected to win confirmation in the Senate.
The White House issued a statement expressing appreciation for the Senate Judiciary Committee's vote on Mukasey, and that it looks forward to the full Senate vote. The statement said Mukasey has demonstrated he will be an exceptional attorney general at a critical time.
Majority Democrats on the committee had expressed concern about the nomination, after Mukasey refused to characterize as torture the practice of waterboarding, an interrogation technique that simulates drowning.
But key Democratic Senators Charles Schumer of New York and Dianne Feinstein of California said Friday they would vote for Mukasey after receiving assurances that he would enforce a law against waterboarding if one were enacted by Congress.
Waterboarding is widely condemned as torture by human rights groups and has been prosecuted by the United States as a war crime.
The U.S. military has banned the practice, but human rights groups say the CIA has used it in recent years.
During hearings last month, Mukasey said answering questions about waterboarding might put the careers or freedom of those who might be using the technique at risk.
Some information for this report was provided by AP.