What you need to know about the new Senate rules
In an unusual move, senators have proposed changes to the Senate rules that could put new limits on how many times they can change their votes to confirm nominees to the federal courts.
Senators are moving forward with the proposed changes, which could mean that the Supreme Court could be without justices for a long time.
The changes, announced Monday by the Senate Rules Committee, will limit the number of times a senator can vote to confirm a nominee to the Supreme Courts.
Senate rules allow senators to change their minds and add or remove nominees from the court only if there are less than 60 votes in the Senate.
The committee said it has already approved changes to existing rules to change the 60-vote threshold from 51 to 60 votes.
But it did not specify which changes the committee wants to make.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said he intends to make some changes to Senate rules to keep the Supreme.
“We’ve been making changes to what we have,” McConnell told reporters Tuesday.
“But we haven’t decided on what we’re going to do with this rule.
So I’m not going to tell you exactly what that is.”
Some of the changes to current rules have already been made, but others are pending approval by the committee.
McConnell and other Republicans are trying to keep up with Democrats in trying to get a Republican majority on the court.
The Senate Rules and Administration Committee approved several changes Monday to the filibuster, but it will not be able to take up a rule that would limit how many votes a senator could have to confirm Supreme Court nominees.
The rules allow the Senate to change its rules and amend the filibuster rules only if two-thirds of the senators in the chamber agree to the changes.
If a senator does not have the required two-third majority, the rule will not apply.
In a sign that McConnell’s administration is looking to make changes to its filibuster rules, it also approved a rule to limit how often the Senate can change the rules.
The rule, proposed by Sens.
Lindsey Graham, R, S.C., and Cory Booker, D-N.J., would require senators to vote to change or eliminate a rule once they are certain there are not more than 60 seats to fill the Supreme court.
A majority of the chamber would need to approve the change to be able change the filibuster.
The Graham-Booker proposal would make it so the Senate could not change the current rules and then add or subtract justices from the bench for more than a 60-day period, but would allow senators in a “bipartisan majority” to change those rules for a 60 day period.
The plan would not affect current rules, which would require 60 votes to eliminate a nominee.
In an effort to keep Supreme Court nominations from taking up too much time, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R of Texas, said in a statement Tuesday that the current 60-seat threshold for a nomination “will be extended to 90.”
He added that the new rules “would require Senate Democrats to work together to pass a bipartisan effort to increase the number to 90 votes needed to confirm any Supreme Court nominee.”
Cornyn said in the statement that the Senate should be “focused on working on substantive matters, not on filibustering the Supreme Party nominees that we already know will not get confirmed.”
He said Senate Majority Leaders should work with their Democratic counterparts to “continue to ensure a Republican President and a Democratic Congress will confirm the next president’s Supreme Court picks.”