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Capitol Hill Update: October 26, 2020

10/26/2020

Schedule:

The Senate is in session this week. The House isn’t expected to be back in session until Monday, November 16.

Senate:

The Senate invoked cloture on Barrett’s nomination on Sunday by a vote of 51 to 48. Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) voted against cloture with every Democrat. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) wasn’t present for the vote.

Murkowski has said that she will vote to confirm Barrett. Her vote against cloture to limit debate was because she wants to wait on the nomination because the Senate is considering the nomination so close to an election. “I have reviewed Judge Barrett’s confirmation hearing and her writings. I also had a lengthy discussion with her this week to delve further into her record and views of jurisprudence. It is clear that she is qualified by any objective standard and has received the highest possible rating from the American Bar Association. She has demonstrated a strong command of the law, intellect, discipline, and, ultimately, the capability to hold the position of Associate Justice of the Supreme Court,” Murkowski said. “There will be at least one more procedural vote on Sunday, and I will once again object to advancing the nomination past cloture. Assuming that motion prevails, when we reach a final vote, I will vote to confirm Judge Barrett to serve on the Supreme Court.” Collins, however, will vote against confirmation.

The Senate began the 30 hours of post-cloture debate right after the successful cloture vote. A vote on the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to begin around 7:25 pm. With Murkowski’s vote locked up, we expect 52 votes in favor of Barrett’s nomination. A simple majority is required.

By the way, on Saturday, Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) offered a resolution, S.Res. 758, expressing the sense of the Senate that the number of Supreme Court justices should remain at nine. The text of the resolution is available here. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) objected to the resolution.

The full Senate committee schedule for the week is here.

House:

Unless a deal on a COVID-19 relief package is reached, the House will not be back in session until Monday, November 16.