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 PaulHow low is the bar for presidential candidates, anyway? Lawmaker seeks to investigate Obama's foreign tax compliance law Funding bill rejected as shutdown nears MORE (R-Ky.), who has expressed concerns about the FBI's domestic drone program.
Sens. Ron WydenRon WydenOvernight Healthcare: Watchdog says ObamaCare program made illegal payments Election-year politics: Senate Dems shun GOP vulnerables Overnight Tech: TV box plan faces crucial vote | Trump transition team to meet tech groups | Growing scrutiny of Yahoo security MORE (D-Ore.) and Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyOvernight Finance: Lawmakers float criminal charges for Wells Fargo chief | Scrutiny on Trump's Cuba dealings | Ryan warns of recession if no tax reform Anti-trade senators say chamber would be crazy to pass TPP Democrats press Wells Fargo CEO for more answers on scandal 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 ReidThe missed opportunity of JASTA States urged to bolster election security How the White House got rolled on the Saudi-9/11 bill 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.
Committee ranking member Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyMcConnell blames dysfunction on Dems Four states sue to stop internet transition Senate passes bill to preserve sexual assault kits 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.