Photo credit: Senate Democrats/Gage Skidmore

LIVE COVERAGE: Senate Dems Continue Filibuster, GOP Readies Nuclear Option

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This is a live blog. Stay tuned for more updates as the day progresses.

11:30 A.M.

At approximately 11:00 A.M. today, the U.S. Senate took a vote to limit debate to just 30 more hours on the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. This motion would set the stage for a confirmation vote tomorrow. The motion, called a “cloture vote,” needed 60 votes to pass.

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It did not pass — it failed 55-45. In a stunning display of obstructionism, Democrats voted to continue their filibuster, a historic event that will now force Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to invoke the so-called “nuclear option”, which would allow a cloture vote to pass with just a simple majority.

McConnell has been tweeting about this all morning:

Republicans will first vote on a motion to invoke the “nuclear option.” If that passes, it will set up a final confirmation vote on Gorsuch tomorrow that will require just a simple majority vote to pass.

11:50 A.M.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has now called for a procedural vote to postpone consideration of the Judge Gorsuch nomination to 3:00 P.M. on Monday, April 24th. The Senate is currently voting on this motion. This is a final attempt to stall the nomination prior to McConnell invoking the “nuclear option.” It is not expected to pass.

12:00 P.M.

Schumer’s motion has failed 48-52 — a purely party-line vote.

12:05 P.M.

Just kidding. Schumer just found another way to stall … he’s called for an adjournment of the Senate until 5:00 P.M.! The Senate is voting on this motion now.

12:26 P.M.

The motion to adjourn failed. Now, finally, it’s time for the vote to change the filibuster rule for Supreme Court nominees. The motion is specifically to retain the filibuster rule as is. If the motion fails, the so-called “nuclear option” will be deployed, allowing for a cloture vote to pass with a simple majority.

12:33 P.M.

The nuke has been deployed! The nuke has been deployed!

The motion to retain the filibuster fails 48-52. “The decision of the chair does not stand as the judgment of the Senate.”

12:34 P.M.

The Senate has now called for another vote to end debate after a specified period of time on the Gorsuch nomination. Now that the nuclear option has been deployed, this vote only needs a simple majority to pass.

12:50 P.M.

The cloture vote is now final, 55-45. Debate will be limited to 30 hours. Republicans were joined by three Democrats, Sen. Manchin of West Virginia, Sen. Heitkamp of North Dakota, and Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana in voting in the affirmative.

The final vote to confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court will take place Friday evening. It will be a simple majority vote.


Jon Schweppe

Jon Schweppe is the Director of Government Affairs for American Principles Project. Follow him on Twitter @JonSchweppe