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Schumer: 'Virtually impossible' to reach deal on Gorsuch

Schumer: 'Virtually impossible' to reach deal on Gorsuch
© Victoria Sarno Jordan

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerUS national security policy in the 117th Congress and a new administration Voters say Biden should make coronavirus vaccine a priority: poll New York City subway service could be slashed 40 percent, officials warn MORE (D-N.Y.) said Thursday it is "virtually impossible" for Democrats and Republicans to reach an agreement on President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch, before the upper chamber casts its votes to end debate.

“I don’t think they’ll be able to come to any kind of agreement,” Schumer told The Washington Post about the two parties striking a deal by next week to avoid a bitter showdown. “It’s virtually impossible.”

Gorsuch would need 60 votes to proceed to a confirmation vote under current Senate rules. With Republicans holding a 52-seat majority, eight Democratic lawmakers would need to vote to end debate for the high court appointee, and only two have announced their support.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellImmigration, executive action top Biden preview of first 100 days Spending deal clears obstacle in shutdown fight McConnell pushed Trump to nominate Barrett on the night of Ginsburg's death: report MORE (R-Ky.) and other Republicans have said they'll vote for Gorsuch regardless of Democratic opposition.

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Republicans are signaling that if Democrats filibuster the judge's confirmation, they are willing to invoke the so-called nuclear option, changing Senate rules to allow them to confirm him with a simple majority.

Schumer expressed concern to the Post that if Republicans use the nuclear option to confirm Gorsuch, the simple-majority vote will become the precedent and not the exception.

“The deal would be, ‘We won’t change the rules on the next one,’ but the nuclear option is always available. So how do you solve that?” Schumer said.

Schumer argued that Gorsuch “did not convince people he was independent and thoughtful and down the middle" during his confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

On Thursday, two Democratic senators serving in states won heavily by Trump — Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampMajor unions back Fudge for Agriculture secretary Five House Democrats who could join Biden Cabinet Biden names John Kerry as 'climate czar' in new administration MORE (N.D.) and Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinMajor unions back Fudge for Agriculture secretary Voters split on eliminating the filibuster: poll OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Barrasso to seek top spot on Energy and Natural Resources Committee | Forest Service finalizes rule weakening environmental review of its projects | Biden to enlist Agriculture, Transportation agencies in climate fight MORE (W.Va.) — announced their support for Gorsuch, becoming the first Democrats to back him.

Thirty-four Senate Democrats plan to vote against Trump's Supreme Court nominee, according to The Hill’s Whip List.