Murkowski and Manchin were two of the final holdouts on how they would vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation, along with Republican Sens. Susan Collins and Jeff Flake. Flake announced Friday morning that he would support Kavanaugh’s confirmation, reiterating his statement of support the previous week. However, some Republicans were concerned that Flake would change his mind, since he had called for a delay in the vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation to allow the FBI to conduct a brief investigation into the allegations against the judge.
Flake, like Collins, believed that the FBI investigation, which did not corroborate the sexual assault allegations, was thorough.
Collins announced her decision in a lengthy speech on the Senate floor Friday afternoon, much of which was spent refuting Democratic criticism that Kavanaugh would overturn the Affordable Care Act or Roe v. Wade. Manchin released his statement declaring his support for Kavanaugh shortly after Collins finished her speech — and after Republicans had already secured enough votes to confirm the judge, meaning that Manchin would not be the deciding vote.
Murkowski bucked her party by voting “no” in a procedural vote to advance Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the full Senate floor. She later said that it had been a very difficult decision, but that she did not believe it was the “right time” for Kavanaugh to be seated on the court.
The Alaska senator expressed dismay at the acrimony in Kavanaugh’s confirmation process and said on the Senate floor, “I am really worried that this becomes the new normal, where we find new and even more creative ways to tear one another down, that good people are just going to say forget. It’s just not worth it.”
She explained her courtesy “present” vote for Daines, saying that she hopes “it reminds us that we can take very small, very small steps to be gracious with one another, and maybe those small gracious steps can lead to more.”
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