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McConnell: Plan is to confirm Trump's Supreme Court pick before election

McConnell: Plan is to confirm Trump's Supreme Court pick before election
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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate panel deadlocks in vote on sweeping elections bill Senate descends into hours-long fight over elections bill Republican governor of Arkansas says 'Trump is dividing our party' MORE (R-Ky.) said on Tuesday night that he expects Republicans will confirm President TrumpDonald TrumpKinzinger, Gaetz get in back-and-forth on Twitter over Cheney vote READ: Liz Cheney's speech on the House floor Cheney in defiant floor speech: Trump on 'crusade to undermine our democracy' MORE's Supreme Court nominee before the election. 

"That's the plan and there's nothing I can see that would keep that from happening," McConnell said during a Fox News interview when asked if Judge Amy Coney Barrett would be confirmed to the Supreme Court before Nov. 3. 

McConnell has repeatedly hinted that he would bring up Barrett's nomination for a vote before the election, including saying last week that he would take it up as soon as it comes out the Judiciary Committee. Under Graham's timeline, that would pave the way for a final vote on the Senate floor for the final week of October. 

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But he's also previously been cagey about saying directly that he would hold a vote before the election, even as several of his members, the White House and strategists involved in the court fight have said they expect that to be the chamber's timeline. 

McConnell's decision to say the Senate will take up Barrett's nomination before the election comes as an outbreak of the coronavirus has injected fresh doubt into the GOP's aggressive timeline for confirming Trump's pick to succeed the late Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgCourt watchers buzz about Breyer's possible retirement Five hot-button issues Biden didn't mention in his address to Congress Schumer waiting for recommendation on Supreme Court expansion MORE

Three GOP senators—Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisSenate hears from Biden's high-profile judicial nominees for first time Senate Democrats take aim at 'true lender' interest rate rule Former North Carolina chief justice launches Senate campaign MORE (N.C), Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeGOP governor says Republican Party has to allow for differences Republicans urge probe into Amazon government cloud-computing bid: report Allowing a racist slur against Tim Scott to trend confirms social media's activist bias MORE (Utah) and Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonRand Paul clashes with Fauci over coronavirus origins Sunday shows preview: Coronavirus dominates as White House continues to push vaccination effort Overnight Health Care: WHO-backed Covax gets a boost from Moderna MORE (Wis.)—have tested positive for the coronavirus. An additional three GOP senators—Ben SasseBen SasseOvernight Energy: 5 takeaways from the Colonial Pipeline attack | Colonial aims to 'substantially' restore pipeline operations by end of week | Three questions about Biden's conservation goals Hillicon Valley: Colonial Pipeline attack underscores US energy's vulnerabilities | Biden leading 'whole-of-government' response to hack | Attorneys general urge Facebook to scrap Instagram for kids Utah county GOP censures Romney over Trump impeachment vote MORE (Neb.), Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSenate panel deadlocks in vote on sweeping elections bill Senate descends into hours-long fight over elections bill Ocasio-Cortez hits Yang over scrapped Eid event: 'Utterly shameful' MORE (Texas) and James LankfordJames Paul LankfordRubio and bipartisan group of senators push to make daylight saving time permanent Senate inches toward COVID-19 vote after marathon session Ron Johnson grinds Senate to halt, irritating many MORE (Okla.)—have tested negative but are self-quarantining after being around their colleagues. 

Underscoring how the coronavirus could impact the party's SCOTUS plan, four of those six Republicans are on the Judiciary Committee. Republicans have a 12-10 majority on the panel, and are likely to need all of their members present for an Oct. 22 committee vote on Barrett's nomination. 

Under the panel's rules, to send a nomination to the floor, a majority of the committee has to be present. Democrats are not expected to help them meet the quorum requirement if a Republican senator is expected to be absent. 

McConnell, during the Fox News interview, defended how the Senate has handled the coronavirus, saying that it could "operate successfully in a COVID environment." 

"The current members that have a problem, got it somewhere else, not here in the Senate," McConnell added.