The Senate Tuesday finally headed toward approving Richard Cordray to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau with a cloture vote that all but assures his confirmation.

Bringing the prolonged battle over Cordray's nomination to its near end, senators voted 71 to 29 to allow a final vote on the confirmation to occur. That subsequent vote is expected to occur as early as Tuesday evening following hours of debate and is likely to succeed. The cloture motion, which required 60 votes, means only a simple majority is now needed to approve Cordray, and at least 51 senators are believed to support the nomination.

The rapid developments meant Republicans have essentially relented on their opposition to confirming the CFPB choice over their extensive concerns about the bureau's structure. (Cordray has been running the consumer bureau since early last year under a controversial recess appointment.)

Senators from both parties ended closed door negotiations over a slew of Obama nominees late Monday with no apparent deal to end the logjam. Meanwhile, speculation continued to grow that Democratic leadership may attempt a "nuclear option" — instituting new rules to stop filibusters of presidential appointments.

But by Tuesday morning, some key Republicans, including Arizona's John McCain and Tennessee's Bob Corker, had appeared to decide in favor of at least letting the Cordray vote occur. Seventeen Republicans voted with Democrats to allow the cloture motion to pass.

"We will move past the cloture vote on Mr. Cordray," Corker said.

McCain was said to be involved in a compromise deal to allow consideration of the CFPB nominee.

"I think we see a way forward that will be good for everybody," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on the Senate floor.

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