The Senate Banking Committee on Thursday approved President Bush's nomination of Rep. Christopher Cox to replace William Donaldson as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The committee also endorsed the nominations of Roel Campos and Annette Nazareth to fill two Democratic positions on the five-member panel. All three officials were approved with unanimous votes, paving the way for them to be taken up by the full Senate before adjourning for a month. At press time, the full Senate had not yet voted.

Speaking before the committee last Tuesday, Cox told lawmakers the SEC must protect the U.S. financial industry through rulemaking and enforcement. He also assured that the financial markets would continue to operate efficiently in the event of another terrorist attack.

"My top priority will be vigorous enforcement of our nation's securities laws," said Cox, a California Republican. "The Commission must be vigilant on behalf of investors and stalwart against fraud and unfair dealing."

Democratic Senators Dianne Feinstein, Barbara Boxer and Chuck Schumer spoke on behalf of Cox, suggesting that Democrats will not attempt to block his confirmation.

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