The Senate on Wednesday voted to move forward with former Sen. Dan CoatsDan CoatsSouth Korea missile defense online in ‘coming days’ Sanders on skipping WH Korea briefing: 'I did not want to be part of a photo op' Overnight Defense: Senators go to White House for North Korea briefing | Admiral takes 'hit' for aircraft carrier mixup | Lawmakers urged to beef up US missile defense 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 McConnellStudy: Trump tops recent GOP presidents in signing bills in first 100 days Senate passes stopgap funding bill to avert shutdown Let’s never talk about a government shutdown — ever again MORE (R-Ky.) is signaling that he expects Coats to get a confirmation vote later Wednesday.
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 PaulRand Paul to teach a course on dystopias in George Washington University Destructive 'fat cat' tax law a complete flop. It's time to repeal it. Trump must take action in Macedonia to fix damage done by Obama and Clinton 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 WarrenPresidents with the worst first 100 days Trump in campaign mode at NRA convention Trump ridicules Warren: 'Pocahontas' may run for president in 2020 MORE (Mass.), Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyOvernight Energy: Trump set to sign offshore drilling order Sanders: Trump couldn't be 'more wrong' on climate Overnight Cybersecurity: Ex-officials warn 'Buy American' might harm Pentagon cybersecurity | Chair nudges Trump on cyber order | House gets security training MORE (Mass.), Cory Booker (N.J.), Ron WydenRon WydenWhat killing net neutrality means for the internet Overnight Tech: Net neutrality fight descends into trench warfare | Zuckerberg visits Ford factory | Verizon shines light on cyber espionage Franken, top Dems blast FCC over net neutrality proposal MORE (Ore.), Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyOvernight Energy: Trump set to sign offshore drilling order Sanders: Trump couldn't be 'more wrong' on climate Overnight Energy: Trump orders review of national monuments, claiming ‘egregious abuse’ MORE (Ore.), Tammy BaldwinTammy BaldwinDems unveil bill targeting LGBT harassment on college campuses Lawmakers targeted as district politics shift Senate approves Trump's Agriculture chief MORE (Wis.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandSenate votes to confirm Rosenstein as deputy attorney general Senate approves Trump's Agriculture chief Dems urge Trump to include Northeast Corridor tunnel project in infrastructure bill MORE (D-N.Y.) and Independent Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersNRA head: Sanders 'a political predator' What would Bernie say to Wall Street for 0K? Sanders warns of possible nuclear war with North Korea MORE (Vt.).
Sen. Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonTrump signs executive order creating new VA office Overnight Defense: Commander calls North Korea crisis 'worst' he's seen | Trump signs VA order | Dems push Trump to fill national security posts Georgia campaigns keep up pressure ahead of runoff vote MORE (R-Ga.) was not present at the vote.