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(Adds detail from the committee meeting, comments from Senators Brown and Crapo)
By Sarah N. Lynch
WASHINGTON, April 4 (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate Banking Committee voted on Tuesday to advance Jay Clayton's nomination as the next head of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to the full Senate for approval.
The committee voted 15 to 8, with some Democrats, including Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown of Ohio, voting against him. They have concerns about his close ties to Wall Street from his career as a deal-making attorney for the law firm Sullivan & Cromwell.
"Over 20 years at a Wall Street law firm makes you think a certain way. And that way usually doesn’t involve focusing on families saving for retirement," said Brown, who is the top Democrat on the panel.
Despite the misgivings of some Democrats, Clayton is widely expected to win confirmation by the Senate.
Three of the more moderate Democrats on the panel - Mark Warner of Virginia, Jon Tester of Montana and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota- joined Republicans in voting to approve the nomination.
Once confirmed, Clayton is expected to focus on finding ways to reduce regulatory burdens to help spur more initial public offerings and other ways for companies to raise funds.
Senate Banking Chairman Mike Crapo said he was impressed by Clayton's testimony during his March 23 confirmation hearing, in which Clayton discussed the need to make U.S. markets more attractive to help spur jobs and economic growth.
“While some have raised issues about his previous work creating conflicts, Mr. Clayton is not new in this regard, nor will he be any less vigilant to ensure that he acts appropriately and ethically," Crapo said.
Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Dan Grebler