Senate advances Coats as national intel chief

Senate advances Coats as national intel chief
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The Senate on Wednesday voted to move forward with former Sen. Dan CoatsDan CoatsMcCain says he hasn't met with Trump since inauguration Oversight committee asks White House, FBI for Flynn records Live coverage: FBI director testifies to Congress MORE's (R-Ind.) nomination to serve as President Trump's director of national intelligence.

Senators voted 88-11 to end debate on his nomination, with only a simple majority needed to move forward.

With the Senate expected to leave town Wednesday, Democrats could use the Senate's rulebook to delay a final vote until next week.

But Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellThe Memo: Winners and losers from the battle over health care GOP senators pitch alternatives after House pulls ObamaCare repeal bill Under pressure, Dems hold back Gorsuch support MORE (R-Ky.) is signaling that he expects Coats to get a confirmation vote later Wednesday. 

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"We're going to wrap up three items here in the Senate during this short week. We're going to do another Congressional Review Act," McConnell told reporters during a weekly press conference. "We're going to confirm Dan Coats and we're going to deal with General McMaster's promotion."

Coats is well liked by his former colleagues and is expected to sail through a final vote. The Senate Intelligence Committee voted late last week to send his nomination to the floor, with only two senators voting against him. 

McConnell praised Coats ahead of the vote, calling him an "excellent choice." 

"A few short months ago our colleague, Dan Coats, retired from his post here in the Senate. At that time I had a chance to reflect on our friend's impressive career and I noted that we could expect him to rise to the occasion if called to serve his country once again," he added. 

Trump nominated the former GOP senator, who retired at the end of 2016, for the post in January, giving him control of the intelligence community's 16 agencies if confirmed. 

His confirmation hearing was largely drama-free, though some lawmakers questioned if he was too nice for the role and if he could break through Trump's tight circle of advisers. 

Coats pledged during the hearing that he would push back against Trump if needed and had been reassured that he would be "welcome and needed" as part of the White House National Security Council's Principals Committee. 

“I have been reassured time and time and time again by the president and his advisers that I am welcome and needed and expected to be part of the Principals Committee,” Coats said during his hearing.

Trump reshuffled the Principals Committee of the National Security Council earlier this year. Under that order, Coats would only attend meetings when issues pertinent to his responsibilities are discussed.

Sen. Rand PaulRand PaulTrump, GOP fumble chance to govern GOP senators pitch alternatives after House pulls ObamaCare repeal bill Rand Paul takes victory lap on GOP health bill MORE (R-Ky.) was the sole Republican to oppose Coats. Other no votes were by Democratic Sens. Kamala Harris (Calif.), Tammy Duckworth (Ill.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenDems question potential Kushner real estate deal with Chinese firm Inspector general reviewing HHS decision to halt ObamaCare ads Warren: 'Today is a great day... but I'm not doing a touchdown dance' MORE (Mass.), Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyThe Hill’s Whip List: Where Dems stand on Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Overnight Regulation: Senate moves to strike Obama-era internet privacy rules Overnight Tech: Senate votes to eliminate Obama internet privacy rules | FCC chief wants to stay out of 'political debate' on fake news | Wikileaks reveals new CIA docs MORE (Mass.), Cory Booker (N.J.), Ron WydenRon WydenThe Hill’s Whip List: Where Dems stand on Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Overnight Regulation: Senate moves to strike Obama-era internet privacy rules Overnight Tech: Senate votes to eliminate Obama internet privacy rules | FCC chief wants to stay out of 'political debate' on fake news | Wikileaks reveals new CIA docs MORE (Ore.), Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyThe Hill’s Whip List: Where Dems stand on Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Dem senator accuses Trump of 'dangerous tilt towards authoritarianism' Overnight Regulation: Dems punch back in fight over CEO pay rule MORE (Ore.), Tammy BaldwinTammy BaldwinOvernight Finance: Senators spar over Wall Street at SEC pick's hearing | New CBO score for ObamaCare bill | Agency signs off on Trump DC hotel lease The Hill’s Whip List: Where Dems stand on Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Dem senator to reintroduce ‘buy American’ legislation MORE (Wis.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandSenators demand Pentagon action after nude photo scandal Chelsea Clinton to be honored by Variety, Lifetime Ten years later, House Dems reunite and look forward MORE (D-N.Y.) and Independent Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSunday shows preview: Aftermath of failed healthcare bill Michael Moore warns Dems: Now is not the time to gloat Warren: 'Today is a great day... but I'm not doing a touchdown dance' MORE (Vt.).

Sen. Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonOvernight Finance: Senators spar over Wall Street at SEC pick's hearing | New CBO score for ObamaCare bill | Agency signs off on Trump DC hotel lease GOP senators offer bill to require spending cuts with debt-limit hikes Schumer to House GOP: 'Turn back before it's too late' MORE (R-Ga.) was not present at the vote.