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Blunt says vote on Trump court nominee different than 2016 because White House, Senate in 'political agreement'

Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntLow-flying helicopters to measure radiation levels in DC before inauguration Bottom Line GOP vows quick confirmation of Trump's Supreme Court pick amid coronavirus turmoil MORE (R-Mo.) on Sunday defended his decision to push for a vote on President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden holds massive cash advantage over Trump ahead of Election Day Tax records show Trump maintains a Chinese bank account: NYT Trump plays video of Biden, Harris talking about fracking at Pennsylvania rally MORE’s nominee to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgLGBTQ voters must show up at the polls, or risk losing progress Cunningham, Tillis locked in tight race in North Carolina: poll 51 percent want Barrett seated on Supreme Court: poll MORE less than two months ahead of Election Day, despite his conflicting position four years ago. 

Blunt was among GOP senators who blocked then-President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaDemocrats make gains in Georgia Senate races: poll 'Democrat-run cities' fuel the economy, keep many red states afloat Democrats seem unlikely to move against Feinstein MORE’s nomination of Merrick GarlandMerrick Brian GarlandDemocrats seem unlikely to move against Feinstein 51 percent want Barrett seated on Supreme Court: poll Senate Republicans offer constitutional amendment to block Supreme Court packing MORE after the death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia about 10 months ahead of the 2016 election.

But the senator told CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday that the situation is now different than it was four years ago because the same party, Republicans, control both the Senate and the White House. 

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“Two things have to happen for a person to go on the Supreme Court. In the tradition of the country, when the Senate and president were in political agreement no matter what was the election situation, judges went on the court and other courts. When they weren’t in agreement, they didn’t,” Blunt said. 

“And we were in a situation in 2016 where the White House was controlled by one party, the Senate by another, and the referee in that case was going to be the American people,” he continued. “In this case, both the White House and the Senate have some obligation to do what they think in the majority in the Senate is the right thing to do, and there is a Senate majority put there by voters for reasons like this.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOn The Money: McConnell says he would give Trump-backed coronavirus deal a Senate vote | Pelosi, Mnuchin see progress, but no breakthrough | Trump, House lawyers return to court in fight over financial records Progress, but no breakthrough, on coronavirus relief LGBTQ voters must show up at the polls, or risk losing progress MORE (R-Ky.) said shortly after Ginsburg’s death was announced on Friday that he would push for a vote on Trump’s nominee. 

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Democrats have widely criticized McConnell’s decision, calling it hypocritical based on his decision to block Obama's nominee in 2016 and noting that Ginsburg’s death occurred even closer to the election. 

A couple of Senate Republicans have joined Democrats in saying the Senate should not vote before the election. Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSenate to vote Monday to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to Supreme Court Cunningham, Tillis locked in tight race in North Carolina: poll 51 percent want Barrett seated on Supreme Court: poll MORE (R-Maine), one of the most vulnerable GOP senators facing reelection in the fall, has said the upper chamber should note vote to confirm Ginsburg’s successor before the election, and Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiSenate to vote Monday to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to Supreme Court Senate GOP eyes Oct. 26 for confirming Barrett to Supreme Court This week: Clock ticks on chance for coronavirus deal MORE (R-Alaska) said, ahead of reports of Ginsburg’s death, that she would not vote to confirm a Supreme Court nominee before the election. 

Republicans cannot afford more than three defections to confirm Trump’s nominee if all 47 members of the Senate Democratic caucus oppose Trump’s pick.