Updated at 2:18 p.m. ET on 7/18
Washington (CNN) – The U.S. Senate on Thursday voted mostly along party lines to confirm Thomas Perez as Labor Secretary.
The 54-46 vote came after an agreement earlier this week that ended a GOP filibuster of his nomination.
"Tom has lived the American dream himself, and has dedicated his career to keeping it within reach for hardworking families across the country," President Barack Obama said in a statement after Perez's confirmation. "At the Department of Labor, Tom will help us continue to grow our economy, help businesses create jobs, make sure workers have the skills those jobs require, and ensure safe workplaces and economic opportunity for all."
Perez had come under heavy fire from Republicans for his actions as head of the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice.
The controversy surrounding Perez's nomination originated from Perez's role in a decision by the Justice Department not to become involved in a whistleblower case in Minnesota. Republican leaders charged that the Justice Department decided not to get involved in order to persuade a St. Paul municipality to stop its challenge against housing discrimination guidelines being taken up by the Supreme Court.
Despite GOP criticism, Democratic support for Perez remained strong.
At 51, Perez is so far the only Latino nominated to Obama's second-term Cabinet.