Politics

Up Or Down, Here’s The Road To Kavanaugh’s Confirmation Vote

Reuters

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Tim Pearce Energy Reporter

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell began the process for the Senate to vote up or down on Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court, which might happen late Saturday.

McConnell and at least 15 other senators filed for cloture — a vote that signals the end of Senate debate and beginning of the final voting process — on Kavanaugh’s confirmation Wednesday night. (RELATED: Kavanaugh In Striking Distance As Collins, Flake Praise Thoroughness Of FBI Report)

The cloture motion will “ripen” through Thursday and Friday morning until 1 p.m., the latest the cloture vote will likely be held. All 100 senators may agree to cut the “ripening” period short and hold the cloture vote at 10:30 a.m. Friday morning, however, Conservative Partnership Institute (CPI) policy director Rachel Bovard told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“Basically, all the senators have to agree” to cut cloture short, Bovard said. “What is probably going on is they all want to go home. They have evening events or they have an afternoon event or whatever. They just want to have the vote.”

The cloture vote may pass with a simple majority of 51 votes. If it passes, whether at 10:30 a.m. or 1 p.m., the timer on an additional 30 hours of debate starts. McConnell cannot schedule a final vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation during the 30-hour period only if Democrats monopolize the Senate floor. (UPDATE: Senate Advances Kavanaugh’s Nomination To Final Vote)

The 30-hour time period does not, by itself, prevent Kavanaugh’s vote from being held. The Democrats must hold the Senate floor, one senator speaking at a time for no longer than one hour, and no senator may speak more than twice.

“The Senate rules allow for this. The text of paragraph two in Rule XXII is clear — there is to be ‘no more than’ 30 hours of debate time after the Senate invokes cloture (that is, ends debate),” Bovard wrote in a column for The Hill, quoting the Rules of the Senate. “Critically, that 30 hours represents a maximum, not a right.”

If Democrats do not hold the floor, McConnell may call for a vote. If Democrats hold the floor for 30 hours, or McConnell does not call a vote, Kavanaugh‘s confirmation vote will be held after the 30-hour window is closed, likely sometime Saturday evening or night.

If McConnell decides he does not have the votes to confirm Kavanaugh, either because of absent senators or waffling votes, he may push the final vote back.

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