McConnell: We Have The Votes To Change Filibuster On SCOTUS Nominees

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Joe Donnelly's constituents with direct mailings and web ads, are taking a lot of the credit for Donnelly announcing that he is one of only three Democratic senators supporting Neil Gorsuch's confirmation to the Supreme Court.

"The people", however, decided by a 2.9 million-vote majority that Donald Trump should not be the person who nominates the next Supreme Court Justice.

"This evening, Senator McConnell filed cloture on Executive Calendar #33, Neil M. Gorsuch, of Colorado, to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States", the release stated on Tuesday.

McConnell's move to invoke cloture means there will be a Thursday vote on whether to end debate on Gorsuch's nomination - which Democrats will block.

"I don't think we're raring to go but we'll do it if we have to", Sen.

Top Democrat Chuck Schumer pointed to McConnell's refusal to hold hearings or a vote on Merrick Garland, whom then-president Barack Obama had tapped to replace Scalia. Final confirmation of Gorsuch would come on Friday, allowing him to join the court in time to hear the final set of cases in its current term.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer stood his ground in opposing Gorsuch and in daring McConnell to trigger the rules change.

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US Senator John McCain said on Tuesday that the majority Republicans would likely invoke the so-called "nuclear option" and change the rules in order to confirm Gorsuch.

But Sen. John McCain, who had pushed against previous uses of the nuclear option, was not terribly optimistic about the legislative filibuster's future.

"We'll see what happens".

Trump has shown no inclination to change his choice of Gorsuch.

The full Senate is scheduled to hold a vote on Gorsuch's confirmation on Friday.

Merkley's extended speech isn't a filibuster and won't delay debate or votes, but it's part of Democrats' effort to bring attention to the nomination.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tweeted that "due to an unprecedented filibuster threat", he was setting up the crucial test vote for tomorrow morning.

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Changing the rules is called the nuclear option because of the fallout - in ill will within the Senate, in eroding each member's senatorial privileges and in potentially changing the Supreme Court by giving it a more politically partisan edge.

McConnell said he was confident that the majority of Republicans would support changing the rules to lower the threshold for high court nominees. "Or they could consult with us and reconsider Judge Gorsuch's nomination".

Independent Sen. Angus King says he will oppose President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee.

"What the majority leader did to Merrick Garland by denying him even a hearing and a vote is even worse than a filibuster".

The Senate is preparing to do away with the rule that requires 60 votes in the 100-member body for Supreme Court nominees.

The pressure has shifted to Republicans in the last day now that 44 Democrats have publicly said they won't vote to end debate on Gorsuch's nomination, meaning he won't have the 60 votes needed to end debate.

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