Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hinted on Tuesday that he isn’t ready to change the rules in order to speed up votes on President Donald Trump’s nominees. When asked if he would give the proposal a vote, and if he was willing to go “nuclear” to implement the change, the GOP leader said, “We’ll see.”
“We continue to discuss whether that will be necessary. An easier way to deal with all this, however, would be to have greater cooperation and the cooperation has picked up some this year,” McConnell told reporters. He also added, “the attitude of the Democrats seems to be better. That’s the best way to solve the problem. To get back to some degree of normalcy.”
Meanwhile, a group of GOP senators led by James Lankford want to lower the amount of debate required for nominations once they clear an initial hurdle that shows they have the votes to be confirmed. Under the law, nominations are subjected to an extra 30 hours of debate. GOP Senator Lisa Murkowski and Senator Susan Collins stated that they do not want to either change the rules or support going nuclear to do so.
According to Politico, Lankford wants to cut down the time to eight hours of debate and further cap debate time for district court judges at two hours. However, most of the Cabinet-level nominees, Supreme Court justices as well as circuit court judges, would still be subjected to the full 30 hours.
Nevertheless, Republicans are under a mountain of pressure from their base and the White House to speed up their confirmation of Trump’s nominees. Several GOP senators also called on McConnell to keep the Senate in session longer and if needed to cancel the August recess in order to pass government funding legislation and catch up on a backlog of nominations.
Trump also backed the strategy over the weekend in the following tweet:
“The Senate should get funding done before the August break, or NOT GO HOME,” Trump tweeted. “Wall and Border Security should be included. Also waiting for approval of almost 300 nominations, worst in history. Democrats are doing everything possible to obstruct, all they know how to do. STAY!”