Veteran Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, says he would vote for a controversial "nuclear option" that would allow Republicans to advance Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch without the support of any Democrats, CNN reported.
In an interview with the news outlet Monday, the longest serving Republican senator – a Senate traditionalist – said the procedural move would be "a very bad thing" for the Senate.
The nuclear option would change Senate rules to lower the threshold for breaking a filibuster of Supreme Court nominees from 60 votes to 51 – meaning the conservative judge could advance without Democratic support, CNN noted.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., last week said Democrats would filibuster Gorsuch, which means the GOP, which holds a 52-48 advantage in the upper chamber, would have to pick up the support of eight Democrats to overcome the blocking procedure.
"I can't believe that the Democrats would do that," Hatch told CNN. "I know there are a few radicals that might do that, but I would think the vast majority would say this is a very good man."
Only two Democrats – Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D. – have signaled they might vote against a filibuster.
Hatch's comments came the same day Republicans began a major push to get Gorsuch confirmed. The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to clear Gorsuch next Monday, and GOP leaders want to have him confirmed by the end of that week before leaving town for a two-week recess.
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