The “nuclear” showdown in the Senate has split the chamber’s most senior Republicans over how bad the fallout will be.
On one side is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who says that once Democrats filibuster Judge Neil Gorsuch, the GOP’s unilateral response to confirm him on a simple majority vote will take senators “back to what was the tradition in the Senate” for confirming Supreme Court justices.
It will be, McConnell says, a good thing for the Senate.
“Look at the Senate through the long history of the body, the practical effect of all this will be to take us back to where we were,” McConnell, 75, told reporters Tuesday.
On the other side is Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the fiery 80-year-old who sees this move as the next step in the inexorable slide to crushing the chamber’s bipartisan traditions. He thinks senators who view this as a good step are, well, not fully in command of their faculties.
“Idiot, whoever says that is a stupid idiot, who has not been here and seen what I’ve been through and how we were able to avoid that on several occasions,” McCain said Wednesday, recalling past efforts to defuse these judicial confirmation wars. “And they are stupid and they’ve deceived their voters because they are so stupid.”
Even so, McCain will support McConnell’s move to eliminate the 60-vote threshold for reaching a final vote on approving Supreme Court justices to lifetime appointments. That will come after Democrats, as expected, formally block Gorsuch’s nomination on Thursday.
Excerpted from The Washington Post