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By Paige McGlauflin

WASHINGTON – Sen. Joe Mancin (D-W.Va.) said former drug czar nominee Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.) was “not the person” for the position following The Washington Post/60 Minutes report on his connections to the drug industry.

Manchin was speaking at a panel on the opioid epidemic hosted by The Post along with Sens. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio).

“I knew right then that congressman Marino was not the person to be leading the drug czar,” Manchin said at the panel, “because no one in West Virginia would believe after that article, and also y’all collaborating with 60 Minutes, would ever believe he was gonna be fighting for them.”

Marino had pushed through Congress a law in 2016 that prevented the DEA from putting restrictions on drug distributors, who have a large role in the opioid epidemic that claimed more than 60,000 lives in the past year.

Marino, who was also shown in the report to have received more than $100,000 from PACS connected to the drug industry, withdrew his nomination on Tuesday following the report. The position he was nominated for would have enabled him to direct drug-control policies in the U.S.

Manchin also wrote a letter addressed to the president on Monday urging him to remove Marino from consideration.

Manchin also praised the Post and 60 Minutes reporters for their work.

“I wanna thank you all because if you hadn’t done that, this would still be simmering,” he said at the panel.

Manchin also has introduced a bill co-sponsored by Sens. Hassan and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) to repeal the 2016 legislation.

WASHINGTON- Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said he is not pleased that the governor of his home state has decided to join the Republican party.

“I am disappointed by Gov. Justice’s decision to switch parties,” Manchin said in a Thursday evening statement following Justice’s announcement at a Huntington rally alongside President Donald Trump.

“While I do not agree with his decision, I have always said that I will work with anyone, no matter their political affiliation, to do what is best for the people of West Virginia,” he explained.

Justice has occupied the state’s highest office since January and is expected to officially change his party registration today.

Manchin, who served as governor of West Virginia before being elected to the Senate, is regarded by many political pundits to be one of the few remaining conservative-leaning Democrats. Manchin’s voting record suggests he is generally pro-life as well as pro-Second Amendment.

West Virginia was long considered a Democratic bastion due to strong support from card-carrying union members who worked in coal mines but as the party became more environmentally conscious and socially progressive Mountain State voters began supporting Republican candidates.

Bill Clinton in 1996 was the last Democrat to carry the state in a presidential election.

President Donald Trump, who has promised to bring dissipating coal mining jobs back to West Virginia, carried the Mountain State by 42 points in last year’s  presidential election.

Republicans occupy West Virginia’s three congressional seats. The Mountain State’s representation in the upper chamber is evenly divided.

WASHINGTON- Red-state Democratic Senators Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) said Thursday they will vote to confirm President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Federal District Judge Neil Gorsuch.

“After considering his record, watching his testimony in front of the Judiciary Committee and meeting with him twice, I will vote to confirm him to be the ninth justice on the Supreme Court,” Manchin said in a statement.

“After doing my due diligence by meeting with Judge Gorsuch and reviewing his record and testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, I’ve decided to vote in favor of his confirmation,” Heitkamp said in a statement.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has said that he will filibuster Gorsuch and more than a dozen fellow Senate Democrats also have suggested that they would participate in the filibuster.

A filibuster is a procedural tool that allows a senator to hold the floor and delay or prevent a vote on a proposal.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and several fellow Republicans on committee have suggested that they would be willing to invoke the  “nuclear option” in response to a Democratic filibuster.

Invoking the nuclear option would change Senate rules because it lowers the threshold for breaking a filibuster from 60 votes to a simple majority.

Republicans occupy 52 seats.

Gorsuch during his confirmation hearing last week before Grassley’s committee faced tough questioning from Democrats regarding his judicial philosophy on issues such abortion, Affordable Care Act contraception mandates, and the separation of church and state.

Gorsuch responded to critics on the committee by stating that his judicial rulings are based on the interpretation of law rather than ideological preference.

Many Democrats are still outraged that Senate Republicans refused to grant a hearing for D.C. federal appellate judge Merrick Garland who had been appointed to the high court by then-President Barack Obama in early 2016 to occupy the seat left vacant by deceased conservative Associate Justice Antonin Scalia.

The seat has been vacant since that time.

The Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on Gorsuch Monday and a floor vote is expected next Friday.











Bladensburg Peace Cross held unconstitutional
A divided three-judge panel in the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals held that a 40-foot tall Latin cross displayed at an intersection in Bladensburg, Md., violates the Constitution’s “establishment of religion” clause because it is sited on land owned and maintained by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission with taxpayer funds. The ruling overturned a district judge who held the cross, dedicated as a memorial to World War I soldiers, neither advanced nor inhibited religion. But the appeals court said the Latin cross “is the core symbol of Christianity” and has “the primary effect of endorsing religion and excessively tangles the government in religion.” The lawsuit was brought by two atheist organizations, the American Humanist Association and the Freedom From Religion Foundation. The suit attracted support from the attorneys general of 29 states, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and seven Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

MS-13 gangster faces prison for illegal re-entry
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers arrested a previously deported Marastrucha-13 gang member who tried to re-enter the U.S. through the Port of Nogales’ DeConcini crossing. CBP said Jose Calderon-Canada, 29, claimed he was a U.S. citizen but agents determined his citizenship claim was false and, in fact, he had an extensive criminal record and had been deported several times before.

Jury convicts ISIS supporter
A federal jury convicted David Wright (also known as Dawud Khaliq), 28, of Everett, Mass., of conspiring to commit acts of terrorism including the beheading of Americans to support the radical Islamic terrorist cult known as ISIS. Wright’s uncle, Usaamah Rahim, 26, relayed instructions from Junaid Hussain, an ISIS member overseas who was killed in a 2015 airstrike in Raqqah, Syria. Rahim was shot and killed in mid-2015 when he attacked law enforcement officers in a parking lot in Roslindale, Mass., the Department of Justice said.

FBI operation nabs 120 human traffickers
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, working alongside the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, rescued 84 minors and arrested 120 human traffickers during a four-day nationwide effort called Operation Cross Country XI. The operation was conducted through 55 FBI field offices and involved 78 state and local task forces. Among the rescued children were a three-month old infant, and the average age of victims recovered during the operation was 15 years old, the FBI said.

Arsenic contaminates private well water
A study from the U.S. Geological Survey and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 2.1 million Americans may be ingesting arsenic found in drinking water from private domestic wells. Joe Ayotte, a hydrologist who was the study’s lead author, said nearly all of the arsenic found in drinking water comes from natural sources, primarily rocks and minerals through which the water flows.

Balloon pilots should be medically fit
The National Transportation Safety Board said the Federal Aviation Administration should rescind a regulatory exemption that allows commercial balloon pilots to forego the need for medical certification. The lack of medical certification was cited as a contributing cause to a mid-2016 balloon crash in Lockhart, Tex., that killed 15 passengers and the balloon’s pilot. The NTSB said the pilot’s “pattern of poor decision-making” was linked to his medical condition and the use of medications that would have grounded any other pilot.

Bankruptcies continue steady decline
The number of business and individual bankruptcies has declined by about 50% since 2010 when nearly 1.6 million were filed. During the 2017 fiscal year, the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts said, there were 790,830 bankruptcy filings, 23,109 by businesses and 767,721 by non-businesses.

ACLU sues to restore young immigrant’s status
The American Civil Liberties Union filed asked a federal judge to block the deportation of a 23-year-old immigrant who came to the U.S. as a one-year-old infant. His parents have attained lawful permanent resident status and his sisters are U.S. citizens by virtue of their birth in this country. The ACLU case is intended to illustrate the plight faced by an estimated 700,000 young people who face deportation if Congress fails to enact the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals into law. The ACLU’s lawsuit is difficult because it seeks enforcement of a program that has not been authorized by Congress but, instead, was created by an executive order signed by former President Obama.

States sue Department of Education over “gainful employment” rule
The attorneys general of 17 states and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit that accuses the Department of Education of delaying enforcement of a rule intended to eliminate federal funding for low-performing career colleges, the Center for Responsible Lending said. The so-called “gainful employment” rule requires for-profit colleges, many of which depend on federal taxpayer funds for 90% of their revenues, to lose funding if their graduates cannot find gainful employment.

Rip ‘n Read is a daily compilation of press releases found on hundreds of websites that are maintained by the federal government, think tanks, watchdog groups and national advocacy organizations. Press releases selected for this feature are, in the opinion of the editor, exceptionally newsworthy, interesting or just plain curious.

The press releases and documents linked to this report were posted on their websites on Wednesday, October 18

WASHINGTON — Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.) has withdrawn from consideration as director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. a position generally referred to as “drug czar, President Donald Trump announced on Twitter Tuesday morning.

The withdrawal comes amid reports from the Washington Post and CBS’ “60 Minutes” that Marino authored a law backed by the pharmaceutical companies that halted the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) from cracking down on shipments to questionable pharmacies and doctors.

Former DEA official Joe Rannazzisi told” 60 Minutes” that the law, spearheaded by Marino, effectively opened the floodgates for the illegal distribution of opioids.

Trump  who has described the epidemic surrounding addiction to opioids as a “national emergency” — said during a Monday news  conference that the administration would look into Marino’s nomination following the reports.

“He’s a good man. I have not spoken to him, but I will speak to him and I’ll make that determination,” Trump said. “If I think it’s one percent negative to doing what we want to do, I will make a change, yes.”

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), whose state has been particularly hard hit by opioid addiction, asked the Trump administration to drop Marino on Monday.

Marino’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

Democrats applauded Tuesday’s announcement.

“The opioid crisis demands that the next drug czar is solely focused on getting communities across the country the help they desperately need,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement. “I hope the Trump administration nominates someone that fits that bill.”

Mylan fined $465 million for $1.2 billion drug overcharge
Besides profiteering off consumers with a 460% price increase for its Epi-Pen drug-and-syringe product, Netherlands-based Mylan N.V. and its U.S. subsidiaries agreed to pay $465 million to resolve False Claims Act allegations that it knowingly misclassified the lifesaving drug as a “generic” to avoid having to pay rebates to Medicaid, the Department of Justice said. The accusations were first raised in a whistleblower suit brought by a rival drug company, France-based Sanofi. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said Mylan’s pledge to reclassify the Epi-Pen as a brand name drug will save hundreds of millions of dollars for taxpayers. Public Citizen said the fine was barely one-third of the $1.2 billion that the company pocketed from its overcharging and “it fails to include an admission of guilt.” Mylan’s chief executive is Heather Bresch, the daughter of U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).

FOIA suits seek anti-Israel lobbying documents
Judicial Watch filed Freedom of Information Act lawsuits to compel disclosure of communications from anti-Israel groups that urged the Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security to ignore trade laws that provide preferential treatment to Israel. The suit seeks communications that mention “country-of-origin marking requirements” or refer to the 2015 Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act from such groups as Act Now to Stop War and End Racism, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Muslim American Society and Students for Justice in Palestine.

Court decides when immigrant become “illegal”
A person becomes an “illegal alien” when he or she steps on U.S. soil, the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled, rejecting an illegal immigrant’s insistence that a person doesn’t become an illegal alien until he or she is declared to be unlawfully present in the U.S. by a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services administrative law judge. The suit was brought by Hamid Rehaif who was convicted for possessing a firearm and ammunition while being unlawfully present in the U.S. Rehaif was granted a student visa to study mechanical engineering at the Florida Institute of Technology.

Ethics complaint filed against state legislator who hates wolves
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility filed an ethics complaint that accuses State Rep. Joel Kretz, the minority leader of the Washington State Legislature, of using improper bribery and extortion tactics in his thus far unsuccessful campaign to fire a university professor who is among the country’s foremost researchers on wolves and their interactions with livestock. Among other things, the complaint describes Kretz’s threat to withhold funding for the university’s plant sciences building unless the scientist, Dr. Robert Wielgus, was terminated and his research lab defunded.

Driver of death truck faces severe sentence
James Bradley Jr., 60, of Clearwater, Fla., is facing a possible death sentence for participating in a human smuggling operation that led to the deaths of 10 illegal aliens. Bradley insisted he was hired to drive a tractor-trailer from Iowa to Brownsville, Tex., and was not aware that as many as 200 aliens had been locked inside the trailer. Police who were called to a Walmart store in San Antonio, Tex., found 39 illegal aliens—including 10 who were already dead—at the scene, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said.

Another boat for Chesty
The Navy will commission the USS Lewis B. Puller, its newest warship, at a ceremony at the Khalifa bin Salman Port in Al Hidd, Bahrain, the Department of Defense said. The ship is named for Lt. Gen. Lewis Burwell “Chesty” Puller, the most decorated individual in the history of the U.S. Marine Corps who became a five-time winner of the Navy Cross for combat in World War II and the Korean War. It will be the second Navy ship to bear Puller’s name. The first ship, a guided missile frigate, was retired in 1998 and was transferred to the Egyptian Navy.

Virginia banker admits fraud and identity theft scheme
Kirk Marsh, 39, of Oakton, Va., pleaded guilty to charges that he engaged in identity theft and fraudulent bank activity while he was a vice president of the Virginia Commerce Bank and its affiliated Fulton Bank, the Department of Justice said. Among allegations against him, Marsh forged the signatures of senior bank officials to obtain a $1 million line of credit which he used to acquire a bank client’s software company and make a down payment on his house.

Adolescents tripped by contact lens rules
More than 85% of adolescents who wear contact lenses admit to having at least one habit that increases their chances for developing an eye infection, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. There are approximately 3 million adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 in the U.S. Among the most risky habits reported by adolescents were: not visiting an eye doctor at least once a year (44%), sleeping or napping while wearing lenses (30%), and swimming while wearing lenses (27%).

Financial firm accused of aiding predatory college
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is seeking a $183.3 million fine from Aequitas Capital Management of Lake Oswego, Ore., for helping the now-defunct Corinthian Colleges Inc. engage in a predatory lending scheme that saddled students with debts they could not afford. CFPB said Aequitas structured the loans to give Corinthian the appearance of earning enough revenue to qualify for federal student aid funds. CFPB said the fine would be used to forgive or reduce loans owed by 41,000 students.

Arbitration clause at issue in Supreme Court case
The American Association for Justice (formerly the Association of Trial Lawyers of America) asked the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold a National Labor Relations Board decision against a corporation’s use of a mandatory arbitration clause to prevent employees from using lawsuits to resolve violations of labor and civil rights laws. AAJ noted in its friend-of-the-court brief that federal agencies have promulgated rules on the use and limitations of arbitration for over 40 years, and a contrary Supreme Court opinion would threaten dozens of regulations as well as the well-settled Federal Arbitration Act.

Rip ‘n Read is a daily compilation of press releases found on hundreds of websites that are maintained by the federal government, think tanks, watchdog groups and national advocacy organizations. Press releases selected for this feature are, in the opinion of the editor, exceptionally newsworthy, interesting or just plain curious.

The press releases and documents linked to this report were posted on their websites on Thursday, August 17

On The Hill with Doug Christian

From Washington, DC, this is On the Hill. Doug Christian reporting.

Today’s headlines:

  1. North Korea’s launch of another ICMB tests International Resolve
  2. President Donald Trump pushes for another attempt to Repeal and Replace Obamacare
  3. Sen. Joe Manchin said Democrats will lose without a Healthcare fix.
  4. Russia Orders U.S. to Cut Diplomatic Staff by 755
  5. Jimmy Hoffa disappeared 42 years ago, now a break.

(Opening soundbite – Trump on Chinese President)


    1. President Trump heaped praise on China’s President, Xi Jinping, in France last month. Now North Korea’s launch of an ICBM, this time landing in Japanese waters, rattles the International Order. Now, President Trump tweeted:I am very disappointed in China. Our foolish past leaders have allowed them to make hundreds of billions of dollars a year in trade, yet they do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk. We will no longer allow this to continue. China could easily solve this problem!

      However, China appears to be as worried by North Korea’s actions as the United States is. China has been bolstering defenses along its 880-mile frontier with North Korea and realigning forces, special forces, airborne troops, and other units that could be sent into North Korea in the even of a crises.

      Meanwhile the US Air Force flies B-1 bombers in a ‘North Korea nuke drill’ as Donald Trump may be ‘poised to launch military strike’ against the rogue state.

    2. Regarding the Senate’s failed attempt to repeal and replace of Obamacare, President Trump tweeted is frustration with the legislative process:

      Unless the Republican Senators are total quitters, Repeal & Replace is not dead! Demand another vote before voting on any other bill!

    3. The Democrats shouldn’t get comfortable with the GOP’s failure. Sen. Joe Manchin warned that the Democrats will lose if they don’t address Obamacare’s faults and must seek to fix the Affordable Care Act. (Manchin)
    4. US-Russia relations continue to deteriorate. President Vladimir V. Putin announced on Sunday that the American diplomatic mission in Russia would have to cut its staff by 755 employees, a response to the new American sanctions that escalated the tensions between Washington and Moscow.
    5. Forty-two years ago, President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) union from 1958 til 1971, disappeared. His disappearance has become one of the most enduring mysteries of the 20th Century. FoxNews spearheaded an investigation into his death and Frank Sheeran’s claim he killed Hoffa in a house near the parking lot Hoffa was last seen. Blood evidence found in house by the investigators. (Sheeran Prosecutor)

This is On the Hill. Doug Christian reporting from Washington.

WASHINGTON- Following the shooting Wednesday at a Republican baseball practice in Alexandria, Va. that wounded five people, including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) some members of Congress still do not believe extra security is warranted.

 “This is a pretty safe occupation… we have good protection here. And when I go back home and I’m in any type of a setting I have state police and all the people back home have been very good at working with us,” said Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.)

Manchin previously served as governor of West Virginia and during his tenure in office received around-the-clock protection from a state police security detail. All 50 states provide similar protective measures to state governors as well as other key state officials.

Members of Congress are generally not entitled to a protective detail unless they are elected to a leadership position. However in some cases there has been a security detail for members who do not hold leadership positions, but it’s rare.

The Democrats who practice at Gallaudet University do not have a senior leadership member on their team, and they do not have a security detail assigned to their practice.

Scalise as the number three Republican in Congress had a security detail present at the time of the shooting. Two officers and two aides sustained injuries. The assailant was killed.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) also said the current security measures are sufficient.

“I’ll let the law enforcement people look at that. I don’t think we need to dramatically change our lives,” he said.

When asked if members of Congress should carry firearms Graham said: “If their state allows them and they want to they can.”

Graham brushed off an ensuing reporter’s suggestion that the Scalise shooting might reignite the national gun control debate by explaining that he owns an AR-15 and like most gun owners has responsibly exercised his Second Amendment rights.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) refused to speak with TMN when addressed in the hallway of the Dirksen Senate Office Building but a staff member provided a statement acknowledging that the senator had been informed that the alleged shooter had volunteered for Sanders’ 2016 Presidential Campaign.

He later spoke on the Senate floor, saying, “I am sickened by this despicable act. Let me be as clear as I can be: Violence of any kind is unacceptable in our society and I condemn this action in the strongest possible terms.”

West Virginia hops on medical marijuana train
West Virginia became the 29th state to enact legislation to allow the use of medical marijuana, thus jumping onto a train that is hurtling toward a head-on collision with federal law enforcement authorities. The Marijuana Policy Project noted that six states have adopted medical marijuana laws in the past year. Pointedly, three of the states—Arkansas, Florida and North Dakota—voted for Donald Trump in last November’s presidential election; and, the legislatures of the other three states—Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia—are controlled by Republicans.

Georgia voter registration law faces legal challenge
A Georgia voter registration law that could have an impact on the June 20 runoff election to select a successor to Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) came under legal challenge from the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. The suit, filed in a federal district court in Georgia, cites a National Voter Registration Act provision that allows any person to vote if registered at least 30 days prior to a federal election. However, in Georgia, only persons who were registered no later than March 20 to vote in the April 18 special election will be eligible to vote in the June 20 runoff election.

Increased pill consumption linked to Obamacare
A study from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found evidence that the number of prescriptions filled by adults with Medicaid benefits increased 19% in states that used the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) to expand their Medicaid programs. According to the study, the largest increases were for medications used to manage chronic conditions such as diabetes, and for birth control.

Recalled: 55 tons of chicken nuggets
The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service said that Conagra Brands Inc. has recalled 110,817 pounds of frozen chicken nugget meals because the brownie dessert may be contaminated with Salmonella. The product, sold under the Banquet brand name as Chicken Nuggets with Mac & Cheese, was distributed to retail locations nationwide.

FISA court was busy in 2016
Last year, the U.S. intelligence agencies submitted 1,752 applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, the secret tribunal that approves or denies permission to conduct surveillance under the USA FREEDOM Act. According to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, the FISA court approved 1,378 applications as submitted, another 339 applications were approved with modifications, 26 applications were partly denied, and 9 applications were denied in their entirety.

Ocwen KO’d by federal and state regulators
Ocwen Financial Corp., of West Palm Beach, Fla., among the nation’s largest nonbank mortgage loan service providers, was hit by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the bank regulators of 20 states. CFPB filed a lawsuit that accused Ocwen of “failing borrowers at every stage of the mortgage servicing process” and compiling a record strewn with “errors, shortcuts and runarounds” that caused some borrowers to lose money and others to lose their homes. State regulators, led by the North Carolina Commissioner of Banks, issued a cease-and-desist order that hampers Ocwen’s ability to remain in business.

Strike force demolishes Mexican drug gang
A strike force led by the Drug Enforcement Administration ended a year-long investigation by arresting 10 of 17 members of a Mexican drug gang that smuggled cocaine and methamphetamine into California and transported it to a distribution site in Colorado. DEA identified four of the arrestees as naturalized U.S. citizens. DEA said the gang sold narcotics through the El Rancho Market in Aurora, Colo., which has a money transfer station that was used to send money back to Mexico.

Straw donor pleads guilty
Adam H. Victor, 64, of New York City, pleaded guilty to violating the federal election law when he reimbursed family members for contributions made in 2011 to two federal candidates. The Department of Justice didn’t identify the recipients of Victor’s funds, but Federal Election Commission records show he and another family member contributed to West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin’s re-re-election campaign, and to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Victor is president of Transgas Development Systems LLC which announced plans in 2008 to build a $4 billion coal-to-gasoline plant in Mingo County, W.Va.

Rip ‘n Read is a daily compilation of press releases found on hundreds of websites that are maintained by the federal government, think tanks, watchdog groups and national advocacy organizations. Press releases selected for this feature are, in the opinion of the editor, exceptionally newsworthy, interesting or just plain curious.

The press releases and documents linked to this report were posted on their websites on Wednesday, April 19

WASHINGTON – After a historic rule change, the Senate voted mostly along party lines, 54-45, to narrowly confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court on Friday.

Gorsuch’s confirmation as the high court’s 113th justice marks the end to a bitter partisan battle.

Gorsuch, 49, serves as a federal judge on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. President Donald Trump nominated him in January to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, who died suddenly on Feb. 13, 2016.

Three Democratic senators – Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota – joined their Republican colleagues to vote “yes” on Gorsuch’s nomination. One Republican senator, Johnny Isakson of Georgia, abstained from the vote.

On Thursday Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell invoked  “nuclear option” to stop Senate Democrats’ filibuster of Gorsuch’s nomination. The GOP leadership effectively changed Senate rules so that Supreme Court nominees no longer have to win 60 votes but can be confirmed by a 51-vote simple majority.

McConnell had led Republicans in refusing to consider former President Barack Obama’s nominee, Judge Merrick Garland.

When asked by TMN on Friday if the Democratic filibuster was merely preparation for when a seat opens up that could change the ideological composition of the court, McConnell responded: “I don’t know. We don’t have another seat right now but [what] I’d like to see after the recess is to get back to some semblance of normalcy.”

“And you’ve watched these all-night sessions on cabinet appointments and a lot of other things that I think are pretty obviously a response to the core base of the Democratic Party, which is still really in deep depression over the outcome of the election, and I think it’s time to move past that,” he added.

Vice President Mike Pence called Gorsuch in Colorado after the vote. Gorsuch is expected to be sworn in on Monday in Washington.