Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told radio host Hugh Hewitt on Wednesday the Senate will continue confirming President Trump's judicial nominations "as soon as we get back in session" on May 4.

Why it matters: McConnell has long viewed the transformation of the federal judiciary through the confirmation of young conservative judges as his defining legacy.

The big picture: President Trump has successfully appointed 193 judges to the federal bench thus far, including two Supreme Court justices. But the coronavirus pandemic has forced Congress to resort to brief pro forma sessions in recent weeks, stalling confirmation hearings.

  • McConnell said he wants to "leave no vacancies behind" when it comes to the courts, adding that the coronavirus "will not prevent us from achieving that goal."

What he's saying:

"Well, the current plan is to go back in session on May the 4th. I haven’t seen anything that would discourage me from doing that. And as soon as we get back in session, we’ll start confirming judges again. We need to have hearings, and we need to confirm judges. Hugh, you and I have discussed this before. My motto for the year is leave no vacancy behind. That hasn’t changed. The pandemic will not prevent us from achieving that goal."

Worth noting: McConnell told Hewitt he opposed Democrats' attempt to add funding for state and local governments to the interim coronavirus relief bill passed by the Senate Tuesday because he didn't want to "just send a blank check down to states and local governments to spend anyway they choose to."

  • McConnell said that he would be in favor of allowing states to declare bankruptcy rather than receive large federal bailouts.
  • He also warned that lawmakers "haven’t had much discussion about adding $2.7 trillion dollars to the national debt, and the way that could indeed also threaten the future of the country."

Go deeper: McConnell says he would fill Supreme Court vacancy if it opened this year

Go deeper

Jul 28, 2020 - Politics & Policy

GOP Sen. Sasse slams Mnuchin and Pelosi as "big government Democrats"

Mnuchin. Photo: Erin Scott-Pool/Getty Images

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) sharply criticized stimulus negotiations between House Democrats and the Trump administration on Tuesday, dismissing Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin as "two big government Democrats."

Why it matters: Sasse is one of a number of Senate Republicans who have expressed frustration with key provisions in the White House-backed bill released by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Monday — underscoring how far Congress is from striking a deal on a coronavirus relief package.

Updated 14 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: The swing states where the pandemic is raging — Pence no longer expected to attend Barrett confirmation vote after COVID exposure.
  2. Health: 13 states set single-day case records last week — U.S. reports over 80,000 new cases for second consecutive day.
  3. Business: Where stimulus is needed most.
  4. Education: The dangerous instability of school re-openings.
  5. World: Restrictions grow across Europe.
  6. Media: Fox News president and several hosts advised to quarantine.
Dave Lawler, author of World
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U.S.-brokered ceasefire collapses in Nagorno-Karabakh

Volunteer fighters in Stepanakert, the capital of Nagorno-Karabakh. Photo: Aris Messinis/AFP via Getty Images

A U.S.-brokered ceasefire between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh crumbled within hours on Monday, leaving the month-old war rumbling on.

Why it matters: Nearly 5,000 people have been killed, according to Vladimir Putin’s rough estimate, including more than 100 civilians. Between 70,000 and 100,000 more are believed to have fled the fighting.