Senators Choose Sides on Gorsuch, Rumors of a Deal Surface

TWO RED-STATE DEMOCRATIC SENATORS SUPPORT GORSUCH: Senators  JoeManchin and Heidi Heitkamp announced that they will vote in favor of Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court. The pair represent West Virginia and North Dakota, two red states that Donald Trump won in the election. Both are up for re-election in 2018, reported The New York Times. Their support is giving Gorsuch “a measure of bipartisan sheen but doing little to dissuade leading Democrats from planning to block him.”

THREE MORE DEMOCRATIC SENATORS OPPOSE GORSUCH: Senators Richard BlumenthalBrian Schatz, and Catherine Cortez Masto have joined 36 other Democratic senators in opposing Gorsuch, bringing the total to 39. Senator Chuck Grassley predicted that Gorsuch will not attain the 60-vote threshold needed to advance his nomination,  according to The Hill.

UNLIKELY DEAL ON GORSUCH: There are reports that Senator John McCain has been looking to strike a deal with Democrats to get Gorsuch confirmed, but that his hopes for success aren’t high. “I’ll have conversations, but I’m not optimistic,” he said, according to The Hill. McCain said a deal would require eight Democratic votes to confirm Gorsuch in return for a promise that Democrats will be able to block a nominee under “extraordinary circumstances” in the future.

Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has repeatedly said that if Gorsuch cannot reach the 60-vote threshold, the solution is to change the nominee, not change the rules. “Senate Republicans are acting like if Gorsuch doesn’t get 60 votes they have no choice but to change the rules,” he said, according to CBS News. “That is bunk.”