While Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is planning to forge ahead and call for a vote as soon as possible on whomever Donald Trump nominates to fill the seat held by Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a number of Republican senators are balking at committing to a vote before the November election.
According to a report from Politico, only a few of more than a dozen Republican senators asked on Monday if they would commit to a vote before the election said yes with many taking a wait and see approach.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), who is facing re-election in a state that has surprisingly become competitive for Democrats, was measured in his response to the timing of a vote, explaining, "We know that some confirmations have occurred in a relatively short period of time. But they’re probably during times of maximum cooperation. I don’t think there’s going to be maximum cooperation.”
According to the report, "... confirming Ginsburg’s replacement before the election or in the lame-duck session — carries serious political risks for McConnell and Republicans, who are already at risk of losing their majority in the November election. Voting before the election could electrify liberals — but voting after, particularly if Trump loses, would be a decision of historic controversy that could lead to questions of legitimacy for whoever is seated on the high court."
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-Sc) -- who is facing a stiff challenge for his seat in November -- is completely on-board with rushing a vote, explaining that he thinks the GOP leadership has the votes they need.
"We've got the votes to confirm Justice Ginsburg's replacement before the election," he explained on Monday night. "We're going to move forward in the committee, we're going to report the nominee out of committee to the floor of the United States Senate so we can vote before the election. That's the constitutional process."
With Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri saying "It would be the new recent world record” to push through a vote before November third, he also admitted the Senate shouldn't rush.
“I think it should take as long as it takes, and at the same time I don’t think we should drag it out,” he explained. “I don’t think we should have a barrier here that gets in the way of people feeling like this took as long as it needed to take.”
Cornyn also left the door open for a later vote.
"It’s sort of like a vaccine. I’m for doing a vaccine when it’s safe and effective. But I’m not for accelerating the process just to [accelerate it]. I’d want to make sure we do it right and it’s a pretty big step,” he stated.
The Politico report adds, " .... waiting until after the election could protect vulnerable incumbents, while using the forthcoming vote to turn out the conservative base on Nov. 3. If the vote is after the election, though, McConnell could have a slightly slimmer majority if Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) loses to her Democratic challenger, Mark Kelly. In that scenario, Kelly could be sworn in later in November instead of January because the race is a special election."
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