McConnell tees up Barr nomination for next week

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSchumer to GOP: Cancel 'conspiracy hearings' on origins of Russia probe Overnight Health Care: Trump says US 'terminating' relationship with WHO | Cuomo: NYC on track to start reopening week of June 8 | COVID-19 workplace complaints surge 10 things to know today about coronavirus MORE (R-Ky.) is turning the Senate toward the confirmation of President TrumpDonald John TrumpMichael Flynn transcripts reveal plenty except crime or collusion 50 people arrested in Minneapolis as hundreds more National Guard troops deployed Missouri state lawmaker sparks backlash by tweeting 'looters deserve to be shot' MORE's attorney general nominee.

McConnell, wrapping up the chamber's work week on Thursday, teed up an initial vote on Barr for next week after the chamber finishes a public lands package.

McConnell praised Barr, who previously served as attorney general to President George H.W. Bush, on Thursday, calling him a "tried and true public servant."

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"Before us is a nominee who remains imminently well qualified to discharge these duties," McConnell said. "The Senate needs to act quickly to put Bill Barr back to work at the Justice Department. I hope and expect he'll be confirmed next week."

The Senate Judiciary Committee kicked Barr's nomination to the full Senate earlier Thursday in a 12-10 party line vote.

Democrats' path to blocking Barr, already uphill, grew more challenging on Thursday. Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) became the first Democrat to say they will support Barr.

With Jones's defection, Democrats would need to flip five Republican senators and keep the rest of their caucus united if they want to defeat his nomination.

Several other potential swing votes, including Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinDemocratic unity starts to crack in coronavirus liability reform fight Stakes high for Collins in coronavirus relief standoff The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Surgeon General stresses need to invest much more in public health infrastructure, during and after COVID-19; Fauci hopeful vaccine could be deployed in December MORE (D-W.Va.), haven't yet said how they will vote.