Beyond the Democrats who’ve already committed to voting “yes” to confirm Neil Gorsuch, new audio has surfaced of Senator Claire McCaskill suggesting that not all Dems are on-board with Sen. Chuck Schumer’s plan to filibuster President Trump’s nomination.

“The Gorsuch situation is really hard. There are going to be people in this room that are going to say, ‘No, no, no. You cannot vote for Gorsuch,’ ” McCaskill said in the recording. “Let’s assume for the purposes of this discussion that we turn down Gorsuch, that there are not eight Democrats that vote to confirm him and therefore there’s not enough to put him on the Supreme Court. What then?”

By: Onan Coca

Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) have become the first two Democrats to publicly announce that they will vote “Yes” to confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch as the next Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.

The dueling announcements is evidence of just how much pressure the 2018 election is exerting on Red State Democrats who know they will be in for a bruising battle to retain their seats. While Manchin and Heitkamp are among the more conservative Senators in the Democrat Party, they can be generally counted on to support liberal opposition to the GOP (and Trump) agenda. Even with the support they are lending to Judge Gorsuch the two Senators are in grave danger of becoming “former Senators.”

The vote to confirm Judge Gorsuch will take place next Friday and while the GOP is likely cheering the announcements from Manchin and Heitkamp, they know there is still work to be done. If the GOP wants to avoid using the “nuclear option” to confirm Judge Gorsuch, they’ll need at least 6 more Democrats to join them in supporting his nomination. Otherwise, the GOP won’t have 60 votes and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will trigger the nuclear option, allowing the GOP to confirm Judge Gorsuch with just 50 (+1) votes. The nuclear option is not something the GOP wants to unleash, but it was made available to them when former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) unlocked the mechanism several years ago in an effort to make it easier to push President Barack Obama’s agenda. Now, they are regretting the short-sightedness of the move.

We can expect at least 4-5 more Democrats to announce their support for Judge Gorsuch later this week, as there are several other vulnerable Democrats running for reelection in states that Donald Trump recently won, and they know they’ll need all the good will with their voters that they can get. The question is… will the GOP be able to find 1 more Democrat vote to help them confirm Judge Gorsuch without being forced to use the nuclear option?

Only time will tell.

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