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Senate panel moving ahead with Mueller bill despite McConnell opposition

Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyOn The Money: Biden says workers can't turn down job and get benefits | Treasury launches state and local aid | Businesses jump into vax push Grassley criticizes Biden's proposal to provide IRS with B The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Infrastructure, Cheney ouster on deck as Congress returns MORE (R-Iowa) said his committee will take up legislation to protect special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE despite opposition from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellFormer OMB pick Neera Tanden to serve as senior adviser to Biden Lawmakers reach agreement on bipartisan Jan. 6 commission The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Masks off: CDC greenlights return to normal for vaccinated Americans MORE (R-Ky.).

"They got together, so I feel an obligation to keep my word and move forward," Grassley said when asked if he would still give the special counsel legislation a vote.

Grassley had previously urged supporters of two competing special counsel bills to strike an agreement and merge their proposals.

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That legislation is on the agenda for a committee business meeting on Thursday, but an actual vote is expected to be delayed until next week.

McConnell said he has no intention of bringing the bill up for a floor vote during an interview with Fox News on Tuesday. 

"I'm the one who decides what we take to the floor, that's my responsibility as the majority leader, and we will not be having this on the floor of the Senate," he told Fox News.

McConnell has argued for months that he doesn't believe legislation protecting the special counsel is necessary. He has said he doesn't believe President TrumpDonald TrumpVirginia GOP gubernatorial nominee acknowledges Biden was 'legitimately' elected Biden meets with DACA recipients on immigration reform Overnight Health Care: States begin lifting mask mandates after new CDC guidance | Walmart, Trader Joe's will no longer require customers to wear masks | CDC finds Pfizer, Moderna vaccines 94 percent effective in health workers MORE will fire Mueller, despite Trump's public comments and reported attempts to do just that.

Grassley sidestepped a question about whether he would urge McConnell to bring up the bill, noting it still needs to get out of committee. He said McConnell has a "terrible job."

"But I can't worry about what's going on on the floor. I've just got to do what I can do," he said.

With at least GOP Sens. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisSenate hears from Biden's high-profile judicial nominees for first time Senate Democrats take aim at 'true lender' interest rate rule Former North Carolina chief justice launches Senate campaign MORE (N.C.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGOP governors move to cut unemployment benefits as debate rages over effects Trump critics push new direction for GOP Graham warns about trying to 'drive' Trump from GOP: 'Half the people will leave' MORE (S.C.) joining Democrats in supporting the bill, it's expected to have the votes to clear the Judiciary Committee next week.

But it faces an uphill climb to getting 60 votes in the Senate, much less passing the more conservative House. 

A bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation last week that would codify that only a senior Justice Department official can fire a special counsel and give Mueller or any other special counsel an "expedited review" of any firing. 

If a court determines a special counsel wasn't fired for "good cause," the person would be reinstated.