LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell appeared on Face the Nation this morning, where the Kentucky Senator spoke in-depth about the controversial confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and the state of the Senate.
Kavanaugh was confirmed with a 50-48 vote on Saturday. Only two senators crossed party lines: Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.
Despite voting for Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation, Sen. Manchin was not getting much love from Republicans--including McConnell.
He said this morning that he appreciates Manchin’s vote, but the Republican Party’s priorities come first.
“Joe Manchin is still a Democrat and we are trying to hold a majority. We appreciate his vote for Judge Kavanaugh, I think it was the right thing to do, but we are trying to win seats," McConnell said.
Manchin was the only Democrat who broke ranks with his party and voted “yes” on Kavanaugh. The senator is facing re-election in pro-Trump West Virginia, where recent polls showed him in the lead.
Sen. Murkowski was the only Republican to vote against Kavanaugh’s nomination. When asked if she should be punished for her vote, McConnell demurred, saying he would rather focus on the success of his party.
“Sen. Murkowski is a Republican, a member of our Congress in good standing. We’re happy that we won, I’m sorry that we lost her, but we got the votes of all the other members of my conference,” McConnell said.
McConnell also remarked on how invigorated the Republican base has been following Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
“Everybody knows how energized the Democrats' side has been, for a whole variety of different reasons, and so our energy and enthusiasm was lagging behind theirs until this,” McConnell said.
The Senate Majority Leader was asked about legislation in the omnibus earlier this year which would include measures to reform how Congress deals with sexual misconduct within its own ranks. The measure passed with bipartisan support but later stalled; McConnell was widely accused of stalling the sexual harassment legislation because he had issues with a provision that made individual members financially responsible for discrimination and harassment settlements against them.
“We’ve had difficulty negotiating our differences between the House and Senate, but that’s something I know we’ll get done before the end of the year,” McConnell said.
McConnell also offered his take on the perception that the Kavanaugh vote, in which representatives predominantly voted down party lines, reflected an overall lack of cooperation between Senate Democrats and Republicans.
“I want to underscore that in spite of our big fight over this nomination, and over taxes last year, there has been an awful lot of bipartisan cooperation,” McConnell said. “The notion that the Senate is somehow broken over this is completely inaccurate.”