The Senate voted 54-46 on Thursday to confirm Thomas Perez as labor secretary, making him the only Latino in the Cabinet six months into President Barack Obama's second term.

The confirmation came two days after the Democratic majority threatened to change the chamber's rules to put an end to the dilatory tactics of the Republican minority that were impeding the votes on Perez and other Obama administration nominees.

Perez, the 51-year-old son of Dominican immigrants, up to now had headed the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department.

During his confirmation hearings and before the vote by the full Senate, Republicans repeated their criticism of the work Perez has done regarding voting rights and immigration.

On Wednesday, 60 senators voted in favor of ending the delaying tactics and bringing Perez's nomination to a vote in the full chamber.

Six Republicans - Lamar Alexander, Bob Corker, Susan Collins, Mark Kirk, John McCain and Lisa Murkowski - joined the Democratic majority in voting to end debate.

Perez's nomination had the firm support of unions and Latino organizations.

In a letter sent on Tuesday to the main Democratic and Republican Senate leaders, a support coalition headed by the National Hispanic Leadership Association described Perez as an "exceptionally qualified individual" for the post and emphasized that his career has been marked by working in a bipartisan manner.

Perez was nominated by Obama on March 18 to replace another Hispanic, Hilda Solis, who resigned in January. EFE