A Democratic senator yielded the Senate floor Wednesday after talking through the night to highlight his party's opposition to President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch.
"Dark money is completely corrupting the institutions of America, it's dark money backing Gorsuch", Merkley said. "They probably feel like they need to be at least somewhat cooperative with the Trump Administration, so they can point to bipartisanship".
By reaching for the filibuster and forcing McConnell's hand, Democrats are executing a protest and creating a show of solidarity - a response to having watched the GOP squelch a Democratic Supreme Court nomination.
The procedural hurdle backed by Democrats, called a filibuster, requires a super-majority of 60 votes in the 100-seat Senate to allow a confirmation vote.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tweeted that "due to an unprecedented filibuster threat", he was setting up the crucial test vote for tomorrow morning.
"293 days without a fair hearing or vote".
He can only afford to lose two Republican senators, in which case Vice President Mike Pence would be needed to break a tie.
But standing in the way are the Democrats, and to get around them, the Republicans will have to use the "nuclear option". "That could not be further from the truth". Bernie Sanders (I, Vt.), Chris Murphy (D, Conn.), Ted Cruz (R, Texas) and Rand Paul (R, Ky.) have all taken to the Senate floor for symbolic filibusters on a variety of issues and legislation. Democrats have accused the Republicans of "stealing" a Supreme Court seat by stonewalling Garland. By filing cloture, McConnell is looking to stop the filibuster and bring Gorsuch's nomination to a vote.
In fact, a Senate rules change does appear to be the lone route that Republicans have to put Gorsuch on the court.
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Nevertheless, he declared he was sticking with his side, which is exclusively responsible for leaving the high court short of its full complement of judges since Justice Antonin Scalia died more than a year ago. Rather, they're only using language saying they'll confirm Gorsuch, one way or the other, and blaming Democrats for putting them in the situation.
Around 6:30 a.m., Sen.
Merkley took the floor yesterday evening immediately after it became clear that Senate Pres. Mitch McConnell was moving to end debate on the nomination.
"We are at a historic moment in the history of the United States Senate" due to actions by both parties, Coons said.
Gorsuch now counts 55 supporters in the Senate: the 52 Republicans including McConnell, along with three moderate Democrats from states that President Donald Trump won last November Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Donnelly of Indiana.
Democrats, meanwhile, push back by saying Republicans launched the ultimate filibuster previous year by blocking President Barack Obama's pick of Merrick Garland from getting a hearing or committee vote, keeping the seat vacant until a new president was sworn in. Now, the tables are turned and Democrats have sufficient votes to block Gorsuch. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), now the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and Sen.
In 2013, Senate Democrats imposed the nuclear option on filibusters for most other presidential nominations.
Merkley's lead role in the fight against Gorsuch will burnish his reputation as one of the leading progressives in the Senate.