04/06/2017

Nuclear Option Deployed: Senators Agree Damage Over Fight Could Be 'Irreparable' [Watch]

Brooke Singman, Fox News

Senate Republicans vowed President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch would be confirmed by Friday at midnight no matter what. But the road to get there – a Democratic filibuster, followed by Republicans taking the “nuclear” route – has lawmakers on both sides of the aisle agreeing it could hurt the chamber.  

With 52 Republicans and 48 Democrats in the chamber, the majority party needed eight Democrats to join them to break a filibuster, which takes 60 votes, but they have only managed to scrounge up four Democratic senators to cross party lines. This means their only option is going “nuclear” – to change current Senate procedure by lowering the threshold to push Gorsuch through to confirmation on a simple majority.

“Gorsuch is going to be on the Supreme Court by midnight Friday night—I can assure you that,” Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa told Fox News’ “The First 100 Days” Monday. “One way or the other, he’s going to get the necessary votes to get there.”

But there is bipartisan consensus that the drama playing out Thursday is not ideal. Here's what senators have to say: 

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.:

“The truth is, each side can blame the other—we believe they’re more in the wrong, they believe we’re more in the wrong,” Schumer said. “The game of pointing fingers and they-started-it can go back and back and back to the very founding of the republic.”

Schumer also warned that if Majority Leader Mitch McConnell changes Senate rules, he would be “erasing the last shred of bipartisanship in the Senate confirmation process.”

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