Republican Sen. Rick Santorum has just announced a major change in the party’s strategy in the Miguel Estrada confirmation fight. Santorum told reporters minutes ago that Republicans will file for cloture today, which will lead to a vote on Thursday.
So far, Republicans can count on just four Democratic votes in favor of Estrada, which will leave them short of the 60 votes needed to stop the Democratic filibuster. “We’ve sort of hit a wall now,” Santorum said. “We haven’t had anybody come forward in a week and a half, and at some point, you’re going to have to change strategies to make this happen.”
Santorum said the Republican strategy now “will be to put people on the record” through a cloture vote. Anticipating that Republicans will at first fail to reach 60 votes, Santorum added, “This will be one of many cloture votes.”
“My guess is we will do another cloture vote next week and wait and see what happens,” Santorum said. “If we’re successful and pick up a vote, we may have some other options.”
In the meantime, the GOP will continue to work on moderate Democrats who might be persuaded to help end the filibuster. “We’re hopeful that once [a cloture vote] happens, we’ll be able to focus some pressure on some key senators in some key states,” Santorum said.