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President Trump’s nominee for budget director advanced toward confirmation Wednesday after the Senate voted 52-48 to cut off debate on his nomination, a step that was not guaranteed amid concerns from the Right and the Left.

Republican South Carolina congressman Mick Mulvaney, a staunch fiscal conservative, now appears set for final confirmation as President Trump’s Director of the Office of Management and Budget Thursday morning, as Democrats are expected to drag out the vote to the maximum extent.

Wednesday’s vote was critical because of skepticism even within the GOP of Mulvaney, who has been among the most conservative members of Congress in recent years. A key question has been his support for increased defense spending given his drive to cut overall federal spending.

Mulvaney used his confirmation hearing to argue that stabilizing the debt is necessary for ensuring the country’s safety.

But prior to the vote, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., had indicated that he would vote against Mulvaney on the grounds that he was insufficiently pro-military. During a confirmation hearing in the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, McCain grilled Mulvaney about a series of votes to cut military spending and pull troops out of Afghanistan.

McCain on Wednesday voted to end debate on Mulvaney’s nomination, which doesn’t rule out that McCain might vote against Mulvaney in the final confirmation vote.

Other Republicans have also indicated they may not be able to support Mulvaney in the final vote, but all voted to advance him in the procedural vote.

Any Republican defections will make Mulvaney’s passage to confirmation more difficult. He can afford to lose two Senate Republicans before Vice President Mike Pence would be needed to break a 50-50 tie, as Pence did in the final vote for Betsy DeVos as Trump’s education secretary.

But if any more Republicans vote against him, Republicans would have to find support from Democrats to get him across the line.

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Another major complication to Mulvaney’s nomination was his revelation that he had failed to pay $15,000 in payroll taxes for a nanny that helped raise his triplets. He said he paid those taxes after learning that they were owed, but tax snafus have sunk the candidacies of Cabinet-level nominees in the past.

Democrats generally opposed Mulvaney on the grounds of his fiscal conservatism. Mulvaney has long advocated reforms to entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare.

During his hearings, Democrats contrasted Trump’s campaign trail suggestions that he would not seek such reforms with Mulvaney’s own statements, but Mulvaney didn’t back down from his pro-entitlement reform stance. “I like to think it’s why he hired me,” he told senators.

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