Senate

WHIP LIST: How many Dems will back Sessions?

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The question isn’t whether Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) will win confirmation. It’s how many Democratic votes will he win.

Barring a surprise, Sessions is going to be the nation’s next attorney general, as no Republicans are expected to oppose him.

GOP lawmakers are confident that he will be able to easily clear the upper chamber after undergoing a grilling from his colleagues during a hearing that spanned more than 10 hours.

How many votes come from his Democratic colleagues is a bigger question. Here’s a look at the key senators who are worth watching.

Republicans opposing Sessions (0):

No Republican senator is expected to vote against Sessions’s attorney general nomination.

Democrats voting for Sessions (1):

SenJoe Manchin (W.Va.): Manchin told Fox News that “Jeff Sessions has my vote. He’s my friend. I’ve built relationships and friendships here.”

Democrats who will not support Sessions (35):

Sen. Tammy Baldwin (Wis.): Baldwin, the first openly gay candidate to be elected to the Senate, said her opposition to Sessions stemmed from a “moral choice” and that she doesn’t believe Sessions believes in “our shared responsibility to move our nation forward for all Americans.”

Sen. Michael Bennet (Colo.): Bennet said Sessions “blocked bipartisan efforts to expand voting rights, protect women from harassment and violence, and reform our criminal justice system.” The Democratic senator also accused Sessions of using “fear and falsehoods to derail” bipartisan immigration reform efforts in 2013.

SenRichard Blumenthal (Conn.): Blumenthal said that he did not believe Sessions would be “non-political,” adding that he “failed to convince me that he will be a champion of constitutional rights.”

SenCory Booker (N.J.): Booker testified against Sessions noting the “ next Attorney General must bring hope and healing to our country, and this demands a more courageous empathy than Senator Sessions’ record demonstrates.”

SenSherrod Brown (Ohio): Brown appeared to be the first Democrat to formally say they will vote against Sessions. He said he has “serious concerns that Senator Sessions’ record on civil rights is at direct odds with the task of promoting justice and equality for all.”

Sen. Maria Cantwell (Wash.): Cantwell said in a statement that she has “concerns that as U.S. Attorney General and our country’s chief law enforcement officer, Senator Sessions will not protect Americans’ civil rights.”

Sen. Ben Cardin (Md.): Cardin said in a statement that “Sessions seeks to turn back the clock on the values we hold dear and I cannot support this nomination.” 

Sen. Tom Carper (Del.): Carper said he wouldn’t support Sessions, noting that he has a “lifetime voting record that, on balance, is hostile to our country’s landmark clean water and clean air laws.” 

Sen. Bob Casey (Pa.): Casey said he would vote against Sessions, pointing to his positions on voting rights. He added that Sessions’s 2015 vote against a non-binding amendment preventing a religious litmus test for immigrants was “offensive.” 

Sen. Chris Coons (Del.): Coons said on a myriad of issues—including immigration, civil rights and torture—that Sessions has “actively opposed bipartisan efforts to advance justice.”

Sen. Joe Donnelly (Ind.): Donnelly said in a statement that he is “unable to support” Sessions, noting he’s concerned that the GOP senator “will support recent actions taken by the administration on refugees and visa holders.”

SenTammy Duckworth (Ill.): Duckworth, a disabled Iraq War veteran, said “we have a nominee who’s on record speaking up against disability issues.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.): Feinstein said during a committee vote on Sessions’ nomination that “I must vote no.”

Sen. Al Franken (Minn.): Franked said he cannot support an attorney general “who is not fully committed to equal justice for the LGBT community, minorities, immigrants and women.” 

Sen. Kamala Harris (Calif.): The freshman senator launched a petition opposing Sessions after his hearing, writing “we need an Attorney General committed to equal rights for all, including women, people of color, and the LGBT community.”

Sen. Maggie Hassan (N.H.): Hassan said in a statement that she wasn’t confident that Sessions “would put the rights of all Americans before the whims of this President.”

Sen. Martin Heinrich (N.M.): Heinrich said he did not have “confidence” in Sessions, noting the attorney general position requires “an unwavering commitment to protect Americans’ constitutional rights.”

SenMazie Hirono (Hawaii): Hirono, a member of the Judiciary Committee, said she is “deeply concerned about how he would use his prosecutorial discretion to uphold voting rights, protect civil rights and protect a woman’s rights to choose.”

Sen. Tim Kaine (Va.): Kaine noted in a statement that while the two worked together on the Armed Services Committee, “I will oppose his nomination.”

Sen. Angus King (I-Vt): King—who caucuses with Democrats—said he could not support Sessions adding “it is never easy to vote against a colleague, and it is not done out of personal dislike or disaffection for him, but out of what I believe is in the best interests of Maine and the nation.”

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.): Klobuchar told the Star-Tribune that she will not support Sessions, pointing to his positions on the Violence Against Women Act, immigration, voting rights and freedom of the press.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (Vt.): Leahy told the VT Digger that “there’s no way I can support him,” adding that Sessions is “supposed to be the chief law enforcement officer, but he talks like he’s going to be Trump’s personal attorney.”

Sen. Ed Markey (Mass.): Markey said he will vote against Sessions because he has “no confidence that [Sessions] shares a commitment to justice for all Americans or that he will fight to defend the most vulnerable in our society.”

SenCatherine Cortez Masto (Nev.): The Senate’s first Latina senator said that she is “troubled by the controversial and racially insensitive rhetoric Senator Sessions has used in the past, as well as his far-right positions.”

Sen. Bill Nelson (Fla.): Nelson will not support Sessions, the Florida lawmaker’s office said.

Sen. Gary Peters (Mich.): Peters said in a statement that the attorney general “is responsible for protecting the civil rights of all Americans, and I do not believe that Senator Sessions’ past positions and comments are consistent with carrying out that duty.”

Sen. Jack Reed (R.I.): Reed told a local newspaper that Sessions “has not demonstrated sufficient willingness to push back against President Trump’s unconstitutional executive overreach.”

Sen. Brian Schatz (Hawaii):Schatz said he is voting against Sessions because he is not a “leader who can fully commit to protecting democracy and civil rights for all Americans, and build on our country’s foundation as a nation of immigrants.” 

SenChuck Schumer (N.Y.): Schumer said he is “not confident in Senator Sessions’ ability to be a defender of the rights of all Americans, or to serve as an independent check on the incoming administration.”

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.): Shaheen said she “cannot in good conscience support his nomination. …It’s disturbing that Senator Sessions played a key role in crafting recent executive orders, including the Muslim Ban.” 

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (Mich.): Stabenow said she couldn’t support Sessions “because of his record on civil rights and his votes against anti-domestic violence legislation.”

Sen. Chris Van Hollen (Md.): The freshman senator is not convinced that Sessions would fight for the rights of all Americans.

Sen. Tom Udall (N.M.): Udall said in a statement that he would not support Sessions, noting the attorney general must be able to “curb the dark impulses and actions of our president, and must ensure that every American has equal justice under the law.”

Sen. Mark Warner (Va.): Warner said he thinks Sessions “is not the right person to serve as attorney general.” 

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.): Whitehouse said he would vote against Sessions because the attorney general should defend constitutional rights and Sessions’s “record casts such serious doubt on whether he can perform that role.”

Updated: 8:50 a.m., Feb. 3

Tags Al Franken Amy Klobuchar Angus King Ben Cardin Bill Nelson Bob Casey Chris Coons Debbie Stabenow Dianne Feinstein Ed Markey Jack Reed Jeanne Shaheen Jeff Sessions Joe Donnelly Maria Cantwell Mark Warner Martin Heinrich Michael Bennet Patrick Leahy Sheldon Whitehouse Tammy Baldwin Tim Kaine Tom Carper Tom Udall
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