GOP Struggling to Dodge Gorsuch Filibuster

The 'nuclear option' is looking more likely
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 28, 2017 7:04 AM CDT

(Newser) – Neil Gorsuch is on course to become the first Supreme Court nominee to be successfully filibustered since the 1960s—and potentially the last to be filibustered in American history. The Republicans appear increasingly unlikely to get the eight Democrats' votes they need in the Senate to reach 60 and break a filibuster, meaning that the GOP, which has 52 seats, may use the so-called "nuclear option" of changing Senate rules to have him confirmed by a simple majority. "We'll give our Democratic colleagues a chance to see if they provide the 60 votes; if they do, it's a moot point. And if they don’t, as I said before, we will confirm him one way or the other," Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn tells Politico.

The GOP is still trying to flip Democratic senators who are up for re-election in 2018, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has signaled that if the effort fails, he is willing to permanently change Senate rules, the Hill reports. "If our Democratic colleagues choose to hold up this nominee, then they're acknowledging that they’ll go to any length to block any Supreme Court nominee of a Republican president," he says. NBC News reports that on Monday, Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee delayed a vote on Gorsuch until next Monday. That means a floor vote on the nominee won't happen until April 4 at the earliest—and Republicans say they want him confirmed before the Easter recess begins on April 7. (Read more Neil Gorsuch stories.)

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