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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 BluntSenate GOP to face off over earmarks next week Greitens Senate bid creates headache for GOP Biden outreach on infrastructure met with Republican skepticism MORE (R-Mo.) on Sunday defended his decision to push for a vote on President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump mocks Murkowski, Cheney election chances Race debate grips Congress US reentry to Paris agreement adds momentum to cities' sustainability efforts MORE’s nominee to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgDemocrats to offer bill to expand Supreme Court Progressives give Biden's court reform panel mixed reviews Biden will let Breyer decide when to retire, aide says 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 ObamaBernie Sanders says he disagrees with Tlaib's call for 'no more police' Obama: Biden made 'right decision' on Afghanistan Biden spoke to Bush, Obama ahead of Afghanistan troop withdrawal MORE’s nomination of Merrick GarlandMerrick GarlandOvernight Defense: Biden officially rolls out Afghanistan withdrawal plan | Probe finds issues with DC Guard helicopter use during June protests Duckworth asks DOJ to probe 'brazenly violent' police treatment of National Guard officer Biden's court-packing theater could tame the Supreme Court's conservatives 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 McConnellThe Memo: Biden puts 9/11 era in rear view Anti-Asian hate crimes bill overcomes first Senate hurdle Greitens Senate bid creates headache for GOP 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 CollinsOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Senate confirms Mallory to lead White House environment council | US emissions dropped 1.7 percent in 2019 | Interior further delays Trump rule that would make drillers pay less to feds Anti-Asian hate crimes bill overcomes first Senate hurdle On The Money: Senate confirms Gensler to lead SEC | Senate GOP to face off over earmarks next week | Top Republican on House tax panel to retire 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 MurkowskiTrump mocks Murkowski, Cheney election chances Biden picks Obama alum for No. 2 spot at Interior Biden outreach on infrastructure met with Republican skepticism 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.