Grassley moves to set up committee vote on Kavanaugh nomination

Grassley moves to set up committee vote on Kavanaugh nomination
© Greg Nash

Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyTrump mulling visit to ethanol refinery later this month: report Nursing home care: A growing crisis for an aging America  Senate chairman says bipartisan health care package coming Thursday MORE (R-Iowa) is moving to set up a Senate Judiciary Committee vote on Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination, likely next week.   

Grassley's office on Monday sent out an agenda for a business meeting the committee will have on Thursday. Kavanaugh's nomination is included as one of roughly two dozen judicial nominations that could get a vote. 

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The move means Kavanaugh's nomination could get a vote as soon as this week. But Democrats are expected to delay the vote until next week, meaning Kavanaugh's nomination will likely be taken up by the committee on Sept. 20.

Under committee rules, any one senator can delay a nomination by a week when it's on the agenda for the first time, as Kavanaugh's nomination will be on Thursday. Nominations are routinely held over for a week.

Grassley had previously indicated last Thursday that he would place Kavanaugh's nomination on the committee's agenda for Sept. 13. 

Grassley's notice on Monday formally sets in motion the Republican plan of getting Kavanaugh confirmed to the Supreme Court by October, when the justices will start their next term.  

Republicans hold the majority on the Judiciary Committee, so Kavanaugh is expected to easily clear the panel despite last week's heated four-day hearing. 

Kavanaugh will then need a simple majority to get confirmed by the full Senate. 

If Democrats want to sink his nomination they'll need to peel off at least two Republican senators, as well as keep their entire caucus united. 

No Democrats have said they will support Kavanaugh, yet. But several red-state Democrats are viewed as potential "yes" votes.

Democratic Sens. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinSenate panel approves Interior nominee over objections from Democrats Labor head warns of 'frightening uptick' in black lung disease among miners Labor leader: Trump has stopped erosion of coal jobs MORE (W.Va.), Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampOn The Money: Stocks sink on Trump tariff threat | GOP caught off guard by new trade turmoil | Federal deficit grew 38 percent this fiscal year | Banks avoid taking position in Trump, Dem subpoena fight Fight over Trump's new NAFTA hits key stretch Former senators launching effort to help Dems win rural votes MORE (N.D.) and Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyObama honors 'American statesman' Richard Lugar Former GOP senator Richard Lugar dies at 87 Ralph Reed: Biden is a 'formidable and strong candidate' MORE (Ind.) are seen as the Democrats most likely to vote "yes" on Kavanaugh. Several other red- and purple-state Democrats — including Sen. Doug Jones (Ala.), who wasn't in the Senate for the Neil Gorsuch fight — also remain undecided. 

Meanwhile, Democrats' best shot at picking up the two GOP votes they need to sink Kavanaugh's nomination are likely GOP Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsCollins offering bill to boost battery research as GOP pushes energy 'innovation' Biden says Congress must move to protect abortion rights Women's civil rights are not a state issue MORE (Maine) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiCongress must press Interior secretary to act on climate change Senate panel approves Interior nominee over objections from Democrats Women's civil rights are not a state issue MORE (Alaska), both of whom have previously broken with the party on ObamaCare repeal and abortion legislation.