Senate GOP leaders agree to request to delay Kavanaugh floor vote

Senate GOP leaders agree to request to delay Kavanaugh floor vote

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh testifies Sept. 27 at a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill. (Jim Bourg/Reuters/pool photo)

WASHINGTON – Senate GOP leaders have agreed to a request by Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) to delay a floor vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh for one week while the FBI investigates allegations of sexual misconduct leveled against the judge, the Senate Judiciary Committee said in a statement Friday.

“The Senate Judiciary Committee will request that the administration instruct the FBI to conduct a supplemental FBI background investigation with respect to the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court,” the committee said. “The supplemental FBI background investigation would be limited to current credible allegations against the nominee and must be completed no later than one week from today.”

Flake made the request minutes before the committee voted to approve Kavanaugh. He told the panel he agreed with Democrats that the FBI should be allowed more time to vet the nominee.

Flake said he would vote Kavanaugh out of committee, which he did, but would not support the nomination on the floor unless the delay was agreed to.

His request was seconded by red-state Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota. Both are up for re-election in November and are under  considerable pressure to support Kavanaugh.

Flake was the sole holdout among the 11 Republicans on the committee prior to announcing his support for Kavanaugh on Friday morning. The committee’s 10 Democrats had said they would oppose the nomination and ultimately did.

The Senate is scheduled to debate the nomination throughout the weekend. A final vote had been planned for Tuesday.

Kavanaugh has adamantly denied allegations of sexual misconduct.

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