GOP blocks Schumer effort to adjourn Senate until after election
Republicans on Monday shot down an effort by Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) to adjourn the Senate until after the election, a move that would have effectively punted Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court confirmation until after Nov. 3.
Schumer moved to adjourn the Senate until Nov. 9, with the caveat that if a coronavirus relief deal was reached by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that they would return to vote.
“This is the most rushed, most partisan, least legitimate Supreme Court nomination process in our nation’s history … and it should not proceed,” Schumer said.
But Republicans in a 48-42 vote pigeonholed Schumer’s request. The Senate is expected to come back into session on Tuesday.
“I’m glad we just voted down the motion by the Democratic leader to adjourn because we have work to do here, including the COVID-19 legislation which we need to be here to be working on. I’m glad that [the] adjournment motion was unsuccessful. Yes, we have to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court,” said Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio).
Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) called Schumer’s move a “temper tantrum.”
Schumer’s attempt to adjourn the Senate comes as Republicans are barreling toward a confirmation vote to fill the Supreme Court vacancy early next week.
The Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on her nomination on Thursday afternoon, where they will need all 12 GOP senators on the panel present in order to have a quorum required to send nominations onto the full Senate. The committee rules also require two members of the minority to be present, though both sides have warned that Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) could change that rule.
McConnell has said that he will move to tee up her nomination on Friday. Republicans will set a new record for how close to a presidential election a Supreme Court nominee has been confirmed. While other nominees have been confirmed in a fewer number of days, those have been further away from Election Day.
“I look forward to the Judiciary Committee’s vote on Thursday. The full Senate will turn to Judge Barrett’s nomination as soon as it comes out of committee. I’ll be proud to vote to confirm this exceptional jurist,” McConnell said from the Senate floor Monday.
Democrats are under fierce pressure to use any procedural lever at their disposal to try to delay Barrett’s nomination. Schumer previously invoked the “two-hour” rule to delay committee hearings after Republicans made it clear that they will fill the seat left vacant by the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death last month.
But Democrats are powerless to stop Barrett on their own. If every senator votes, they would need four Republican senators to vote “no “— a hurdle they acknowledge they do not expect to meet.
So far only one Republican senator, Susan Collins (Maine), has said she will vote against Barrett because she does not believe a nominee should be brought up before the election.
Senate Republicans are eyeing confirming Barrett as soon as next Monday.
McConnell can hold a procedural vote on Barrett as soon as Sunday, absent an agreement with Democrats. After that there would still be up to an additional 30 hours of debate, setting up a final vote on her nomination on Oct. 26.