1 McConnell Expects SCOTUS Nominee To Be "Extremely Qualified Woman"
As the fight over filling the seat vacated by the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg continues, President Trump’s plans are taking shape. For one, he plans to announce his nominee on Saturday. And to ask Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, he expects that Trump's pick will be an "extremely well qualified woman." Speaking at the Capitol, McConnell said the Senate “has a constitutional obligation” to move a nomination forward, despite the looming presidential election. The GOP also says they’ve got the votes. Back in 2016, both Republicans and Democrats sang a very different tune on the subject. McConnell prevented President Obama from filling a vacancy in 2016, insisting that it should not happen in an election year. Democrats are accusing Republicans of blatant hypocrisy, considering their actions in 2016...but then, in the same year, Vice President Joe Biden said something similar in 2016...though in the reverse. Back then, Biden maintained that a president should go forward with nominating a replacement Supreme Court judge...“even a few months before a presidential election.” Meantime, McConnell says Senator Lindsey Graham, who chairs the Judiciary Committee, is making a plan for handling the nomination. As for the votes, while Maine’s Susan Collins has said she’ll vote against a nominee, Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski also says she’s against pushing through a justice. But the question mark of Utah’s Mitt Romney is no more. While he and Trump have long been at odds, Romney now says he’s on board with moving forward. If that’s the case, Trump’s pick appears all but assured to be confirmed.
2 Trump Hits China On COVID In UN Speech, As FDA Locks Down On Vax
President Trump is hitting China again over the global coronavirus pandemic. Trump sent a pre-recorded virtual speech to the UN General Assembly and called it the "China Virus” and said the UN “must hold China accountable.” Trump defended his administration's response to the pandemic, saying the U.S. has launched the “most aggressive mobilization” since World War Two. As part of that, he’s been pushing for a vaccine to arrive – perhaps by Election Day, something the FDA has basically kiboshed. While usually, the HHS could force an Emergency Authorization to bend the rules, the FDA is now considering new regs that would force any potential vaccine to arrive well after November 3rd.
3 Deal Reached To Avoid Government Shutdown
It appears the federal government is going to avoid an election year shutdown. In the afternoon, House Democrats have agreed to a deal with the Trump administration on a bill to keep the government funded through December 11th. Funding was set to run out on September 30th. Speaker Nancy Pelosi noted a deal was reached that also helps farmers and adds money for nutrition support for "hungry schoolchildren and families." That means government is one critical step closer to staying open. With eight days until a shutdown, the House passed a bipartisan bill last night. It had been delayed after Democrats left out money for farmers, which is what President Trump wanted. The bill keeps the government funded through December 11th. The bill now moves to the Senate and if passed, it will move to Trump’s desk for signing.