McConnell: Senate to confirm Kavanaugh by Oct. 1

Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDem pollster: Kavanaugh nomination outcome won’t impact how people vote in November Lawmakers demand answers from Mnuchin on Trump tariffs McConnell accuses Dems of trying to ‘bork’ Kavanaugh MORE (R-Ky.) said Friday that he expects the Senate to vote on Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination before the Court starts its next term. 

“The timetable typically for recent Supreme Court justices, if we stuck to that timetable and I intend to, would give us an opportunity to get this new justice on the court by the first of October,” McConnell told reporters in Kentucky on Friday. 

The timeline lines up with a similar estimate the GOP leader made late last month before President TrumpDonald John TrumpGiuliani: Trump interview with Mueller ‘further away’ ACLU calls for Trump officials to hand over info on immigrant children Kushner to join Pompeo for meetings with Mexican leaders MORE named Kavanaugh as his pick. 

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Kavanaugh is making his rounds on Capitol Hill as he works to lock down the simple majority support he’ll need to be confirmed as Justice Anthony Kennedy’s successor on the high court. 

Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyGOP senators introduce resolution endorsing ICE Administration to brief Senate panel on family reunifications The real reason Scott Pruitt is gone: Putting a key voting bloc at risk MORE (R-Iowa) hasn’t said when the Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the nomination. 

But McConnell predicted on Friday that it will likely take place in late August or early September. The Senate is expected to be in Washington for most of August after McConnell canceled three weeks of the summer recess.  

McConnell added that he expects Kavanaugh will be able to win over the simple majority needed to be confirmed. If Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainOvernight Defense: Fallout from tense NATO summit | Senators push to block ZTE deal in defense bill | Blackwater founder makes new pitch for mercenaries to run Afghan war Jordan, Strzok engage in fiery exchange over Trump-Russia dossier McCain rips Trump: NATO actions ‘disappointing’ but not surprising MORE (R-Ariz.), who is battling brain cancer at his home in Arizona, doesn’t return for the vote, Kavanaugh would need the backing of 50 senators. 

Republicans could confirm Trump’s pick without help from Democrats if the caucus rallies behind Kavanaugh. 

But several GOP senators — including Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGOP senators introduce resolution endorsing ICE Russian hackers used fake accounts disguised as local news: report Kavanaugh lauded Rehnquist’s Roe v. Wade dissent in speech last fall: report MORE (Maine), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiDems in terrible bind on Kavanaugh nomination What to expect during Kavanaugh’s confirmation battle The Hill’s Morning Report — Dems attack, but know they don’t have the votes on Kavanaugh MORE (Alaska) and Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulGOP senator moves to restart Pentagon report on NATO allies’ spending The Hill’s Morning Report — Trump denigrates NATO allies, floats 4 percent solution Paul faces tough privacy decision on Kavanaugh MORE (Ky.)—remain undecided. 

Collins and Murkowski, however, have hinted that Kavanaugh’s confirmation could be smooth, despite strong lobbying over their votes.

Several Democratic senators, including those up for reelection in states won by Trump, also remain on the fence, though McConnell predicted that most members already know how they’re going to vote. 

“I think most members who are in the undecided column will wait until the hearing,” he said. “My suspicion is there’s a fairly small number of people who are genuinely undecided.”

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