The Senate cleared a procedural hurdle to advance William Barr’s nomination as attorney general, kicking off up to 30 hours of debate on the nomination before a final confirmation vote. Tuesday’s cloture vote passed largely along party lines, 55 to 44.
Barr, who first served as attorney general under President George H.W. Bush, is widely expected to be confirmed when the vote occurs before the end of the week. Although Republican Sen. Rand Paul, of Kentucky, has announced his opposition to Barr because of his support for warrantless surveillance, Democratic Sens. Doug Jones and Joe Manchin have said they will vote to confirm him. Republicans hold a slim majority in the Senate, 53 to 47.
The Senate Judiciary Committeein a 12-10 vote last week.
President Trump nominated Barr to be attorney general, after ousting Attorney General Jeff Sessions in November. Sessions’ former chief of staff, Matthew Whitaker, was chosen to serve as acting attorney general.