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 GrassleyKlobuchar: ObamaCare a 'missed opportunity' to address drug costs Just one in five expect savings from Trump tax law: poll Divisions emerge over House drug price bills 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) ManchinManchin says he won't support LGBTQ protection bill as written Senators offer bipartisan bill to fix 'retail glitch' in GOP tax law Murkowski, Manchin call for 'responsible solutions' to climate change MORE (W.Va.), Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampAnnual scorecard ranks GOP environmental efforts far below Dems in 2018 Overnight Energy: Trump taps ex-oil lobbyist Bernhardt to lead Interior | Bernhardt slams Obama officials for agency's ethics issues | Head of major green group steps down Trump picks ex-oil lobbyist David Bernhardt for Interior secretary MORE (N.D.) and Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyOvernight Energy: Trump taps ex-oil lobbyist Bernhardt to lead Interior | Bernhardt slams Obama officials for agency's ethics issues | Head of major green group steps down Trump picks ex-oil lobbyist David Bernhardt for Interior secretary EPA's Wheeler faces grilling over rule rollbacks 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 CollinsOvernight Health Care: CDC pushes for expanding HIV testing, treatment | Dem group launches ads attacking Trump on Medicare, Medicaid cuts | Hospitals, insurers spar over surprise bills | O'Rourke under pressure from left on Medicare for all Dem group launches ads attacking Trump's 'hypocrisy on Medicare and Medicaid cuts' Juan Williams: Don't rule out impeaching Trump MORE (Maine) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiJuan Williams: Don't rule out impeaching Trump The 25 Republicans who defied Trump on emergency declaration Overnight Defense: Senate rejects border emergency in rebuke to Trump | Acting Pentagon chief grilled on wall funding | Warren confronts chief over war fund budget MORE (Alaska), both of whom have previously broken with the party on ObamaCare repeal and abortion legislation.