The Senate is waiting for Sen. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampWells Fargo chief defends bank's progress in tense Senate hearing Dems plan to make gun control an issue in Nevada Red-state Dems need more from Trump before tax embrace MORE (D-N.D.) to cast the deciding vote on whether to end debate on President Obama’s nominee to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

The Senate started the cloture vote on Todd Jones’ nomination at 2 p.m. on Wednesday. The current vote count stands at 59-40, one vote short of the 60 votes needed to advance the nominee.

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Six Republicans have voted with Democrats to end debate. After more than 30 minutes of pushing from colleagues, Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiRepublicans jockey for position on immigration GOP senator knocks Trump: 'Not a fan of governing by tweet' How the effort to replace ObamaCare failed MORE (R-Alaska) switched her vote and joined GOP Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGun proposal picks up GOP support Giffords, Scalise highlight party differences on guns Agricultural trade demands investment in MAP and FMD MORE (Maine), Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteDems plan to make gun control an issue in Nevada Stale, misguided, divisive: minimum wage can't win elections Trump voter fraud commission sets first meeting outside DC MORE (N.H.), Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamDurbin: I had 'nothing to do' with Curbelo snub Republicans jockey for position on immigration Overnight Health Care: House passes 20-week abortion ban | GOP gives ground over ObamaCare fix | Price exit sets off speculation over replacement MORE (S.C.), John McCainJohn Sidney McCainRubio asks Army to kick out West Point grad with pro-communist posts The VA's woes cannot be pinned on any singular administration Overnight Defense: Mattis offers support for Iran deal | McCain blocks nominees over Afghanistan strategy | Trump, Tillerson spilt raises new questions about N. Korea policy MORE (Ariz.) and Mark KirkMark KirkGiffords, Scalise highlight party differences on guns Stale, misguided, divisive: minimum wage can't win elections Immigration critics find their champion in Trump MORE (Ill.) in voting to advance Jones' nominations.

Heitkamp has missed all of the votes this week because she’s been back in her home state. A spokesperson for Heitkamp said the senator is on her way to Washington and would cast a “yes” vote.

“Sen. Heitkamp is currently on her way to Washington from North Dakota,” the spokesperson said. “If the vote is held open, she would like to be able to cast her vote.”

After cloture is invoked, the Senate is expected to proceed to a final confirmation vote on Jones' around 7 p.m.

Earlier this month, the Senate Judiciary Committee cleared Jones’ nomination on a party line 10-8 vote.

The bureau hasn’t had a leader for seven years. Democrats have complained that Republicans have opposed ATF directors because of opposition from the National Rifle Association.

Ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyRepublicans jockey for position on immigration House clears bill to combat crimes against elderly Grassley: DACA deal wouldn't need border wall funding MORE (R-Iowa) said he wouldn’t support Jones’ nomination because he is accused of “retaliating against a whistle blower.”

“The Senate should not be voting on a nomination when there is an open investigation,” Grassley said ahead of the vote. “To be honest, we don’t know the full story, but there is an open investigation of serious accusations on retaliation against whistle blower activity. … These are serious charges.”