As Texas Standard went to air, the U.S. Senate took an important vote as part of the larger battle over the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. The Senate voted 51-49 for cloture – a procedural step that ends debate on the issue, and sets the stage for a final vote this weekend.
The cloture vote was largely along party lines, with one GOP senator and one Democrat voting the opposite way. West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin voted with Republicans, while Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski opposed cloture, along with the rest of the Democrats.
Two other Republicans, Jeff Flake of Arizona and Susan Collins of Maine, who have also wavered on the Kavanaugh nomination, voted with their party in order to end debate.
Houston Chronicle Washington reporter Kevin Diaz says Manchin is in a tough reelection fight, while Murkowski has expressed concern about the charges leveled at Kavanaugh by several accusers. He says the results of the cloture vote aren’t a guarantee that Kavanaugh will be confirmed.
“Collins has made it clear that she was voting ‘yes’ only on procedural grounds, but would announce her final position later this afternoon,” Diaz says.
In general, Diaz says, cloture votes do reflect the final outcome of important debates, but this could be the exception.
“The drama continues,” Diaz says.
Written by Shelly Brisbin.