POLITICS/SUPREME COURT/TRUMP PEOPLE/NEIL GORSUCH: “Senate Republicans took their first procedural step Tuesday [4-4-17] toward implementing the ‘nuclear option’ to get Judge Neil Gorsuch confirmed to the Supreme Court over Democratic opposition when Majority Leader Mitch McConnell moved to end debate on his nomination.
A vote on that ‘cloture’ motion will take place Thursday. Democrats can block ending debate — what’s known as a filibuster — by mustering 41 votes against it, which they are expected to be able to do.
At that point, McConnell will turn to the nuclear option by essentially declaring from the Senate floor that from now on filibusters of Supreme Court nominees can be stopped with 51 votes not 60, as has been the case for decades.
McConnell’s declaration would then be enforced by a roll call vote when 51 votes are needed to create the new Senate precedent. Vice President Mike Pence will be standing by to break a tie if not all 52 Republicans back the nuclear option, which is possible.
Once the new threshold is in place, there will be a re-vote to end debate, or break the filibuster of Gorsuch, which will then be able to be done with just 51 GOP votes.”
-Ted Barrett and Ashley Killough, “McConnell starts clock on Neil Gorsuch nuclear showdown,” CNN Politics, CNN.com, April 5, 2017