Senate votes to extend term of FBI director

July 21, 2011 - 6:59 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate has taken the first step to extend the term of FBI Director Robert Mueller for up to two years.

The voice vote Thursday is part of a two-step process. The bill would authorize the extension of Mueller's 10-year term, now set to expire Aug. 2.

Once the House approves the bill and President Barack Obama signs it, the president would then formally nominate Mueller. Senate leaders have agreed to vote on Mueller's confirmation before his term expires.

The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Democrat Patrick Leahy of Vermont, says the extension will maintain continuity of leadership at the FBI as the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks approaches.

A House vote is likely next week.