Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who has pledged to vote for the so-called “nuclear option” to lower the votes needed to break the filibuster of a Supreme Court nominee, said Tuesday that it was a “dark day for the United States Senate.”
Reuters reported Monday that McCain said he would support the filibuster rule change, “because we need to confirm [Supreme Court nominee Neil] Gorsuch,” McCain said. Democrats on Monday reached the 41 senators necessary to filibuster Gorsuch, even as he passed through the Senate Judiciary Committee on a party-line vote.
“I think it’s a dark day in the history of the United States Senate,” McCain told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota. “It’s going to happen. And it’s interesting that Republicans were dead-set against it when my former colleague Harry Reid invoked it with the judges, but now it seems to be okay.”
“What we should have done is what we did in 2005, and that was a group of us got together, a group of us, and said, ‘Look, we won’t filibuster except under extraordinary conditions,’” he continued. “And now, we are so polarized now, including between the two leaders, Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer, that there’s no communications anymore.”
“Look, if you can do this with 51 votes, what do you think the next nominee’s going to be like? And then what do you think is going to happen when eventually the Democrats are in the majority in the Senate?” he said.
McCain joins many of his Republican colleagues in the Senate who bemoan Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s likely use of the nuclear option to push through Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, while still pledging to vote for that rule change.
On Monday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said that the nuclear option spelled “the end of bipartisanship on judges.” He also said he would vote for it.
“We’re not going to have a rule, a tradition in the Senate where they get their judges and President Trump can’t get his,” he said.
Watch below via CNN:
Sen. John McCain on using the nuclear option: “It’s a dark day in the history of the United States Senate” https://t.co/bLMrONm6qm
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) April 4, 2017