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McConnell: Senate will stay until 12 Trump judges approved

August 23, 2018

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday that the Senate will stay in session this month until it approves a dozen more Trump judicial picks and four other executive branch nominees.

The Kentucky Republican laid out the schedule after setting up votes to defeat Democratic filibusters on all 16 nominees.

“No more obstruction, no more delays. It’s time to confirm them all,” Mr. McConnell said. “The Senate will continue to work right through August until every single one of them is confirmed.”

That appeared to be a warning to senators who were hoping for another summer break.

Mr. McConnell already canceled much of the usual August vacation to keep senators in town to work on spending bills and on nominations. Some on Capitol Hill had hoped he would relent and allow a final week’s vacation, but that appears unlikely given the schedule of votes he laid out.

Democrats don’t have the power on their own to defeat nominees, given the changes they made in 2013 to filibusters. But they have erected unprecedented roadblocks, forcing Republicans to use the maximum allowed time on many of the president’s picks.

That’s slowed progress to unprecedented levels of gridlock.

Mr. McConnell said 110 of Mr. Trump’s nominations have faced filibuster-related votes so far in a year and a half. By contrast the last six presidents combined for just 24 filibuster-related votes on their nominees during their first two years in office.

Democrats began the filibustering of Mr. Trump’s nominees from the start of his administration, as part of their continued resistance to everything he’s done. They’ve complained about him being tainted, about his selection process being flawed and about his focus on the courts, where they say he’s trying to put too many conservative-leaning judges on the bench.

As of this week the Senate has confirmed one Supreme Court justice, 26 circuit court judges and 26 district court picks from Mr. Trump.

In addition to the 12 new judicial nominations up for votes, the four executive branch nominees are an assistant attorney general, an assistant secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services, a vice chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System an assistant security at the Department of Treasury.

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