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Senate sets hearing for Garland's attorney general nomination

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing for Merrick GarlandMerrick GarlandBiden says Chauvin verdict is step forward in fight against racial injustice Senate confirms Biden's nominee for No. 2 official at DOJ Why Biden's gun policy doesn't go far enough MORE's attorney general nomination on Feb. 22 and Feb. 23. 

Sens. Dick DurbinDick DurbinGOP eyes new strategy to derail Biden infrastructure plan White House defends 'aspirational' goal of 62,500 refugees Biden on refugee cap: 'We couldn't do two things at once' MORE (D-Ill.) and Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleySenate confirms SEC chief Gensler to full five-year term Senate aims to pass anti-Asian hate crimes bill this week 'Real Housewives of the GOP' — Wannabe reality show narcissists commandeer the party MORE (R-Iowa), the chairman and ranking member of the panel, announced the hearing on Tuesday. 

“I’m pleased that we can announce that the Committee will be moving forward on a bipartisan basis with a nomination hearing for Judge Garland on February 22 and 23. ... He is a consensus pick who should be confirmed swiftly on his merits," Durbin said in a statement.  

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The panel will then vote on Garland's nomination on March 1. Typically, Republicans could hold over the nomination for another week, but GOP members of the panel agreed not to invoke the delay. 

"We ... expect to accelerate the post-hearing committee markup. Given these accommodations, I expect a thorough review of Judge Garland’s qualifications as well as swift and transparent responses going forward,” Grassley added.

Under the schedule agreed to by Durbin and Grassley, members of the panel will submit any follow-up questions to Garland by Feb. 24, and his responses will be due back to the committee by Feb. 28.

The hearing will be roughly two weeks after Durbin had hoped to have Garland before the committee amid a stalemate with Republicans, including Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamOvernight Energy: Biden reportedly will pledge to halve US emissions by 2030 | Ocasio-Cortez, Markey reintroduce Green New Deal resolution The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - GOP draws line on taxes; nation braces for Chauvin verdict Senate GOP faces post-Trump spending brawl MORE (R-S.C.), who remained as chairman until last week. 

Though Democrats took over the Senate majority on Jan. 20, the Senate wasn't able to pass an organizing resolution until Feb. 3. That kept Republicans in place as committee chairs because the chamber was still using the previous Congress's resolution — when Republicans were in the majority.  

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Durbin sent a letter to Graham urging him to hold a hearing for Garland on Feb. 8, which would have allowed them to fit it in before the start of former President TrumpDonald TrumpSt. Louis lawyer who pointed gun at Black Lives Matter protesters considering Senate run Chauvin found guilty as nation exhales US says Iran negotiations are 'positive' MORE's impeachment trial. 

But Graham rejected the request, arguing that attorneys general nominations typically get a two-day hearing and that Democrats had decided to start on the trial on Feb. 9. 

"The Senate is about to conduct its first ever impeachment trial of a former president, and only its fourth trial of a president, incumbent or not. Under the procedure the Senate has adopted, Donald Trump’s trial is set to start on February 9. But you want us to rush through Judge Garland’s hearing on February 8. An impeachment is no small thing. It requires the Senate’s complete focus," Graham wrote.