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Senate eyes Kavanaugh floor vote next week

Senate Republicans are eyeing a vote on the floor on Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination next week.

Senators, while coming out of a closed-door caucus lunch, acknowledged the situation remains fluid, but said they expected to be in session through the weekend to run out the procedural clock, a move that would allow them to wrap up Kavanaugh’s nomination next week.

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GOP Sen. John CornynJohn CornynTrump defends 0B US arms sale to Saudi Arabia Florida politics play into disaster relief debate O’Rourke faces pivotal point in Texas battle with Cruz MORE (Texas), the No. 2 GOP senator and member of leadership, told reporters that if Kavanaugh could get out of the Judiciary Committee on Friday they would be able to be done with the nomination "by the first part of next week.”

"We need to have a mark up and my hope would be we could have that mark up as early as Friday and be on the floor this weekend," Cornyn told reporters.

Sen. Johnny IsaksonJohn (Johnny) Hardy IsaksonHouse conservatives want ethics probe into Dems' handling of Kavanaugh allegations Senate eyes Kavanaugh floor vote next week Trump blasts Tester at Montana rally: 'He loves the swamp' MORE (R-Ga.) said he was planning to be around until Tuesday to finish Kavanaugh’s nomination.

“If you plan to do something before next Tuesday I wouldn’t plan on it,” Isakson said.

GOP Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneFlorida politics play into disaster relief debate GOP chairman: FEMA has enough money for Hurricane Michael Senate Republicans demand Google hand over memo advising it to hide data vulnerability MORE (R-S.D.) initially told reporters that a vote could happen on Tuesday. He later hedged after the lunch saying it depends on how much Democrats drag out the procedural clock. 

If the Judiciary Committee sent Kavanaugh's nomination to the full Senate on Friday, that would allow Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP Senate candidate: Kavanaugh 'debacle' 'hugely motivating' to Missouri voters Trump praises McConnell: He ‘stared down the angry left-wing mob’ to get Kavanaugh confirmed Murkowski not worried about a Palin challenge MORE (R-Ky.) to file cloture as early as Saturday and hold an initial vote as early as Monday.

McConnell did not give a specific timeline on Kavanaugh’s nomination during a weekly press conference only saying they would vote in the near future.

"I believe he'll be confirmed, yes," he told reporters.

No schedule on Kavanaugh’s nomination has been formally announced beyond a Thursday hearing where Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, a woman accusing him of sexual assault, are scheduled to testify before the Judiciary Committee. 

Cornyn told reporters Monday evening that it was possible a committee vote could happen by Friday. If the Judiciary Committee wants to vote on Friday, committee chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyClinton's security clearance withdrawn at her request Kavanaugh tensions linger after bitter fight Senate heads home to campaign after deal on Trump nominees MORE’s (R-Iowa) staff would have to notice the vote on Tuesday.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) expressed confidence that the Senate would confirm Kavanaugh.

“We’re going to be moving forward. I’m confident we’re going to win, confident that he’ll be confirmed in the very near future,” McConnell told reporters. 

McConnell did not specify when Kavanaugh's nomination will come to the Senate floor, except that they would take it up in the "near future."  

A GOP aide, asked about the Tuesday vote timeline, stressed that a final decision had not been made but to not make weekend plans. 

Senators discussed strategy for Kavanaugh during their closed-door lunch. 

Grassley told his colleagues at the lunch to prepare to be in session this weekend, Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerTrump defends 0B US arms sale to Saudi Arabia Cornyn: 'All the money in the world' won't help O'Rourke win Texas Saudi Arabia, Turkey to form joint investigation into Khashoggi disappearance MORE (R-Tenn.) told reporters. 

Cornyn, asked if Grassley specifically said to plan to be in session during the weekend, quipped: "I'm telling you."

"We're going to be here this weekend," he added.

Several other senators said that a final decision had not been made but that they expect to be in session to try to run out the procedural clock on Kavanaugh's nomination over the weekend.  

"I'll be here. ... I think that it's going to be pretty hard to move this along without having votes on certainly Friday and Saturday," GOP Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchRomney defends Trump’s policies as ‘effective,' disputes he led 'never Trump' movement GOP fractured over filling Supreme Court vacancies in 2020 George W. Bush, Mitt Romney to visit Arizona to boost Martha McSally MORE (Utah) told reporters. 

GOP Sen. John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (La.) asked about the weekend told reporters, "I think we are going to be in session."

The decision to move forward with Kavanaugh's nomination comes even as he appears short of the simple majority support needed to be confirmed.

GOP Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeFlake: Congress should not continue Kavanaugh investigations Arizona congressional candidate robbed outside restaurant The Kavanaugh debate was destructive tribalism on steroids: Here’s how we can stop it from happening again MORE (Ariz.) has yet to say if he will support Kavanaugh's nomination or the Judiciary Committee voting this week on the nomination.

If he voted against the nomination in committee it would leave Kavanaugh without the simple majority support needed to be confirmed.

Cornyn said leadership is in constant communication with Flake, who has not voted this week, but added that he hadn't yet heard demands for more time between a hearing and a vote.

Kavanaugh would need a simple majority to be confirmed by the full Senate.

In addition to Flake, GOP Sens. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiMurkowski not worried about a Palin challenge Flake on Kavanaugh confirmation: To see GOP 'spiking the ball in the end zone' doesn't seem right GOP fractured over filling Supreme Court vacancies in 2020 MORE (Alaska) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Kavanaugh debate was destructive tribalism on steroids: Here’s how we can stop it from happening again Conservative group launches ad campaign thanking Collins after Kavanaugh vote Democrats must end mob rule MORE (Maine) remain undecided and aren't expected to make a decision until Thursday's hearing.

Updated at 4:30 p.m.