In 93-1 vote, Senate confirms FBI nominee

The Senate voted 93-1 Monday to confirm James Comey as head of the FBI. 

The only senator to vote against Comey was Sen. Rand PaulRand PaulFive ways Trump will attack Clinton Carter pledges probe of sex assault testimony Rand Paul wants to legalize cooperation MORE (R-Ky.), who has expressed concerns about the FBI's domestic drone program.

Sens. Ron WydenRon WydenFeds list schools that sought exemption from discrimination statute IRS: Annual unpaid tax liability was 8B Overnight Cybersecurity: Fight over feds' hacking powers moves to Congress MORE (D-Ore.) and Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyOvernight Finance: Fed steady on rates; Dems rally behind retirement rule Overnight Finance: Puerto Rico pressure builds; Big tariff vote Wednesday Senate votes to increase wind energy funding MORE (D-Ore.) voted present.

Comey, who worked in the Justice Department under former President George W. Bush, will succeed outgoing FBI Director Robert Mueller. 

The new director is perhaps best known for his opposition to the Bush warrantless wiretapping program. He also argued against the use of water boarding as an interrogation method.

Earlier Monday, Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidReid 'fairly certain' Democrats will win Senate Satanists balk at Cruz comparison Cory Booker is Clinton secret weapon MORE (D-Nev.) said he was “disappointed” that he had to file a cloture motion on Comey’s nomination. 

But by the end of Monday, Republicans had agreed to hold the up-or-down vote on his nomination rather than a procedural vote to end debate.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick LeahyPatrick LeahySenate pressured to take up email privacy bill after overwhelming House vote House unanimously passes email privacy bill This week: Congress on track to miss Puerto Rico deadline MORE (D-Vt.) said this would have been the first FBI director nominee “to be filibustered in Senate history.”

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“Republicans shouldn’t let politics get in the way of confirming the next director of the FBI,” Leahy said. “I believe James Comey is the man to lead the FBI.”

Committee ranking member Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyOvernight Defense: House panel approves 0B defense bill Carter pledges probe of sex assault testimony Grassley: Carter emails contained 'sensitive' information MORE (R-Iowa) said he would support Comey’s nomination, but that this was “a serious decision” for the chamber. Grassley said that Congress’s constitutional right to “advise and consent” to executive nominees was not the same as “rubber stamping.”

Leahy vowed to push Comey, as FBI director, to limit domestic surveillance programs under the Patriot Act, which have come under recent criticism when it was leaked that the government obtained phone records of many U.S. citizens.

“Just because the federal government can collect huge amounts of data, doesn’t mean they should be,” Leahy said.

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