The Senate could vote to confirm Christopher Wray to replace James Comey as head of the FBI as early as Tuesday afternoon, according to senators and aides.
The top two party leaders have been negotiating a larger package of nominations to clear the Senate before the August recess begins after next week.
But confirming Wray is something that senators would like to do independently of any major nominations deal, and the former Justice Department official and corporate lawyer has faced few hurdles as he waded through the confirmation process.
"We obviously need to confirm an FBI director," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on the floor Tuesday morning. "I would hope though with all the threats facing us at home and abroad, our Democratic colleagues would not launch the first filibuster of the nominee to be FBI director, especially one who was reported out of the Judiciary Committee by a vote of 20-0."
A spokesman for McConnell said he had no official announcement on timing for the Wray vote.
The nonexistent drama over confirming Wray stands in contrast to how the FBI vacancy appeared in the first place — with President Donald Trump’s shock ouster of Comey as the FBI director was overseeing an investigation into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
But once special counsel Robert Mueller was tapped to lead the probe, Democrats mostly dropped their objections to Trump’s FBI nominee. Wray breezed through his confirmation hearing in the Judiciary Committee last month after he pledged to remain fiercely independent from any political pressure.
A larger nominations package is expected before senators leave for the August recess, although who will be confirmed as part of that deal is to be determined, according to senators and aides.
"I think they’re talking and trying to figure out how big that package will be," said Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas), referring to McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Added Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-I’ll.): "We went into this week believing there would be a nominations package and we still believe that."