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Grassley moves to set up committee vote on Kavanaugh nomination

The Hill logo The Hill 9/10/2018 Jordain Carney

a screen shot of a man © Provided by The Hill Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is moving to set up a Judiciary Committee vote on Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination, likely next week.

Grassley's office on Monday sent out an agenda for a business meeting the committee will have on Thursday. Kavanaugh's nomination is included as one of roughly two dozen judicial nominations that could get a vote.

The move means Kavanaugh's nomination could get a vote as soon as this week. But Democrats are expected to delay the vote until next week, meaning Kavanaugh's nomination will likely be taken up by the committee on Sept. 20.

Under committee rules, any one senator can delay a nomination by a week when it's on the agenda for the first time, as Kavanaugh's nomination will be on Thursday. Nominations are routinely held over for a week.

Grassley had previously indicated last Thursday that he would place Kavanaugh's nomination on the committee's agenda for Sept. 13.

Grassley's notice on Monday formally sets in motion the Republican plan of getting Kavanaugh confirmed to the Supreme Court by October, when the justices will start their next term.

Republicans hold the majority on the Judiciary Committee, so Kavanaugh is expected to easily clear the panel despite last week's heated four-day hearing.

Kavanaugh will then need a simple majority to get confirmed by the full Senate.

If Democrats want to sink his nomination they'll need to peel off at least two Republican senators, as well as keep their entire caucus united.

No Democrats have said they will support Kavanaugh, yet. But several red-state Democrats are viewed as potential yes votes.

Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) and Joe Donnelly (Ind.) are seen as the Democrats most likely to vote "yes" on Kavanaugh. Several other red- and purple-state Democrats - including Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.), who wasn't in the Senate for the Gorsuch fight - also remain undecided.

Meanwhile, Democrats' best shot at picking up the two GOP votes they need to sink Kavanaugh's nomination are likely GOP Sens. Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), both who have previously broken with the party on ObamaCare repeal and abortion legislation.

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