With Flake, Collins, and Murkowski all giving the right palpitations this afternoon, the Associated Press reports there’s another wrinkle in the mix. GOP Senator Steve Daines plans to be back home in Montana this Saturday because his daughter is getting married:
Daines told The Associated Press Thursday in a statement that two things are going to happen this weekend: There’s going to be a new Supreme Court justice and Daines is going to walk his daughter down the aisle…
The senator’s spokeswoman, Katie Schoettler, says Daines read the FBI report on the allegations and saw no evidence corroborating claims made by Christine Blasey Ford and two other women.
The current schedule is to have a procedural vote Friday at 10:30 am followed by a final vote sometime Saturday. Daines is a solid vote for Kavanaugh but if he’s not available because of a wedding, how does the final vote happen?
One possibility is that Flake, Collins, and Murkowski all get on board and are joined by Manchin. On that point, there were lots of protesters confronting Senators at elevators today, including this one confronting Manchin:
— Ali Rogin (@AliRogin) October 4, 2018
Manchin sounds as wishy-washy as Flake. So what happens if Manchin or one of the others goes wobbly? ABC’s Trish Turner suggested a couple of options via Ben Siegel:
Here’s the story – looks like he’ll be here for vote to end debate Friday.https://t.co/e83U9eDzDc
Senate could possibly hold vote open for him, or a Democrat could “pair” w/ him to cancel out his absence, per Senate expert @caphilltrish.
— Ben Siegel (@bensiegel) October 4, 2018
How long could Cocaine Mitch keep the vote open? Would it remain open until late Saturday night or early Sunday morning?
As for the second option, here’s a definition of pairing from Taegan Goddard’s political dictionary:
An informal voluntary agreement between Members which is not specifically recognized by House or Senate rules. Live pairs are agreements which Members employ to nullify the effect of absences on the outcome of recorded votes. If a Member expects to be absent for a vote, he or he may “pair off” with another Member who will be present and who would vote on the other side of the question, but who agrees not to vote. The Member in attendance states that he has a live pair, announces how he and the paired Member would have voted, and then votes “present.” In this way, the other Member can be absent without affecting the outcome of the vote. Because pairs are informal and unofficial arrangements, they are not counted in vote totals; however paired Members’ positions do appear in the Congressional Record.
Is something like this still possible in the current climate? Which Democrat is going to volunteer to cancel out Daines absence by not voting? That person will likely have hell to pay from the Democratic base.
As if this wasn’t enough of a squeaker, now we have to wonder what procedural hoops will be involved in making sure Sen. Daines absence doesn’t spoil the vote.
Update: Sen. Daines appeared on Fox News to explain his plan for Saturday’s vote. Simply put, McConnell will hold the vote open until Daines can arrive:
— Shannon Bream (@ShannonBream) October 5, 2018