WASHINGTON — Fort Smith native Anne W. Patterson is expected to be confirmed Monday as Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs after the Senate voted Friday to advance her nomination.

WASHINGTON — Fort Smith native Anne W. Patterson is expected to be confirmed Monday as Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs after the Senate voted Friday to advance her nomination.


The vote was 54 to 36, with Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., voting in favor of closing debate on Patterson’s nomination and Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., voting in opposition. The vote occurred at the end of a marathon session that kept the Senate running since Wednesday to consider a backlog of presidential nominations.


Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said a final vote confirming Patterson will take place Monday.


Senate Republicans have resisted efforts to speed the confirmation process after Democrats last week voted to change Senate rules to allow for nominations to proceed with a 51-vote majority rather than 60 votes.


Boozman plans to vote Monday in favor of confirming Patterson.


"I support Anne Patterson’s nomination," Boozman said Friday. "However, I disapprove of the way (Reed) is operating the Senate."


Rather than focusing on nonessential matters, Boozman said the Senate should look to alleviate problems affecting the lives of Arkansans "like the disastrous Obamacare rollout."


The former U.S. Ambassador to Egypt, Patterson is a career diplomat who has been called upon to serve in some of the most challenging posts around the world, including Pakistan, Egypt and Colombia.


The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved her nomination by voice vote in October after she sailed through a September confirmation hearing. The top Democrat and Republican on the committee praised her as exceptionally qualified.


"She was in the eye of the storm as the winds of the Arab Spring began to blow across the region and her expertise and experience served her well," Chairman Robert Menendez, D-N.J., said at the hearing.


Although highly respected by the Senate committee, Patterson was a controversial figure in Egypt where she was seen as discouraging street protests against the newly elected government led by Mohamed Morsi.


In her new role, she will oversee U.S. foreign policy efforts in the region, including Egypt, Syria, Iran and Israel.