04/04/2017 07:24 pm ET Updated Apr 04, 2017

Mitch McConnell Takes First Step Toward 'Going Nuclear' On Gorsuch Nomination

A showdown in the Senate is set for Thursday.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has filed a motion to end debate on Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court, setting up a vote in the Senate over whether to “go nuclear” and change the Senate’s rules for nominations to the high court.

McConnell set a cloture vote for Thursday, at which point Democrats can block ending debate on the nomination. (Democrats have enough votes to do this, and are expected to do so.) McConnell can then move to change the rules for confirming Supreme Court nominees to require a simple majority, rather than 60 votes to end a filibuster, in what’s known as the “nuclear option.”  

McConnell has vowed to confirm Gorsuch by the end of this week and has said he has the votes to change the rules. 

While some of his GOP colleagues have raised concerns about what “going nuclear” will mean for the legislative body, McConnell has dismissed those concerns. He also said Tuesday he has no plans to change the Senate’s legislative rules. 

“There’s not a single senator in the majority who thinks we ought to change the legislative filibuster. Not one,” McConnell said. “This does not threaten the legislative calendar.”