West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin III on Monday became the first Democratic senator to commit to at least voting for limiting debate on the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
Manchin’s office confirmed the senator announced he would vote to limit debate on President Donald Trump’s nomination of the federal appeals court judge for the seat vacated by the death of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, even if Manchin ultimately decides against voting for final confirmation.
Manchin’s commitment thus far would at least be against the Democrat-led filibuster. He previously said he planned to meet again with Gorsuch before making any final decisions about his vote.
If eight Democrats do not vote in support of limiting debate and thus granting the 60 votes needed under current rules and precedents, Republicans have shown an appetite for using the so-called “nuclear option” to drop the threshold to a simple majority.
The Gorsuch nomination was held over at a Senate Judiciary markup earlier Monday, meaning the committee vote will come April 3, with floor consideration likely to begin on April 4.