The Senate is waiting for Sen. Heidi HeitkampHeidi HeitkampSenate Democrats brace for Trump era Senators introduce dueling miners bills A small business executive order: Justification for regulation 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.

ADVERTISEMENT
Six Republicans have voted with Democrats to end debate. After more than 30 minutes of pushing from colleagues, Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa MurkowskiWhat we learned from Rick Perry's confirmation hearing Perry regrets saying he would abolish Energy Department Trump education pick to face Warren, Sanders MORE (R-Alaska) switched her vote and joined GOP Sens. Susan CollinsSusan CollinsGOP rep faces testy crowd at constituent meeting over ObamaCare DeVos vows to be advocate for 'great' public schools GOP senators introducing ObamaCare replacement Monday MORE (Maine), Kelly AyotteKelly AyotteTen rumored Trump Cabinet picks who didn't get a job Sasse, Perdue join Armed Services Committee Avid pilot among GOP senators joining Transportation committee MORE (N.H.), Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamSchumer, Cardin to introduce legislation on Russia sanctions Graham says he will vote for Tillerson The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (S.C.), John McCainJohn McCainIs McCain confident in Trump? ‘I do not know’ Schumer, Cardin to introduce legislation on Russia sanctions Graham says he will vote for Tillerson MORE (Ariz.) and Mark KirkMark KirkGOP senator: Don't link Planned Parenthood to ObamaCare repeal Republicans add three to Banking Committee Juan Williams: McConnell won big by blocking Obama 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 GrassleyChuck GrassleyGOP senator: Trump budget chief could face confirmation 'problems' Jeff Sessions will protect life Justice, FBI to be investigated over Clinton probes 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.”