Jan 22, 2017

Nuclear option on table for Supreme Court

Evan Vucci / AP

Mitch McConnell chooses his words more carefully than just about any politician in America. So while he didn't say "nuclear option" on Fox News Sunday, in McConnell-speak he left little doubt that he'd be prepared to employ the tactic if Democrats block Trump's Supreme Court nominee.

Pressed repeatedly by host Chris Wallace on whether he'd extend the nuclear option to the Supreme Court, McConnell said (twice): "The nominee will be confirmed."

Between the Lines: Chuck Schumer wants a fight over the court. Speaking on CNN's State of the Union this morning, the Democratic Senate leader repeated his threat to hold the Supreme Court seat open for as long as it takes if Trump nominates somebody "out of the mainstream." We don't know where Schumer will draw his red lines, and Schumer didn't explain. (He also said he hadn't studied the records of the list of potential justices that Trump floated during the campaign.)

Where McConnell is coming from: McConnell, an establishment institutionalist, would be deeply reluctant to extend the nuclear option to the highest court. It was only a few years ago that Republicans attacked then-Democratic leader Harry Reid for extending the option partially to confirm lower court judges with 51 votes (instead of the 60 usually required to defeat a filibuster.)

McConnell, however, sent a clear signal to Schumer that when push comes to shove, traditions won't win out over political necessity. He may well go nuclear.

Go deeper

Updated 5 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8 a.m. ET: 6,294,222 — Total deaths: 376,077 — Total recoveries — 2,711,241Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8 a.m. ET: 1,811,277 — Total deaths: 105,147 — Total recoveries: 458,231 — Total tested: 17,340,682Map.
  3. Public health: Nearly 26,000 coronavirus deaths in nursing homes have been reported to federal health officials —Coronavirus looms over George Floyd protests across the country.
  4. Federal government: Trump lashes out at governors, calls for National Guard to "dominate" streets.
  5. World: Former FDA commissioner says "this is not the time" to cut ties with WHO.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: The virus didn't go away.

More than 1 in 6 black workers lost jobs between February and April

Adapted from EPI analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

As is often the case, the staggering job losses in the coronavirus-driven recession have been worse for black workers.

By the numbers: According to a report from the Economic Policy Institute, titled "Racism and economic inequality have predisposed black workers to be most hurt by coronavirus pandemic," more than 1 in 6 black workers lost their jobs between February and April.

Coronavirus could lower GDP by $15.7 trillion

Reproduced from Congressional Budget Office; Chart: Axios Visuals

The CBO released projections on Monday for U.S. nominal GDP to be lower by $15.7 trillion over the next decade than its estimate in January as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

What they're saying: It predicts that when adjusted for inflation GDP will be $7.9 trillion lower over the next decade and down by $790 billion in the second quarter of this year — a 37.7% quarterly contraction.