At the end of the period, Republicans are expected to change the Senate rules to discontinue the filibuster, since they do not have the 60 votes required to reach cloture. Because Vice-President Mike Pence holds the tie-breaking vote as President of the Senate, the constitutional option could be invoked if two or fewer Republican senators refuse to join the effort.
The likelihood of more partisan wrangling left veteran GOP senators frustrated - and hoping that Democrats would relent in their opposition to the Colorado jurist.
Independent Sen. Angus King says he will oppose President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee.
"The Republicans are free actors", said Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat minority leader, "They can choose to go nuclear or they can sit down with Democrats and find a way forward that preserves the grand traditions of this body". Now, the tables are turned and Democrats have sufficient votes to block Gorsuch.
Neil Gorsuch testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on his nomination to be an associate justice of the US Supreme Court during a hearing in the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington, DC on March 22, 2017.
"The reason Democrats are engaged in this foolish filibuster over Gorsuch, they're told if any of them compromise, they'll be primary candidates run against them the next time they run for election", said Gorton. Some were already predicting that they would end up eliminating the 60-vote requirement for legislation, as well as nominations.
McConnell's declaration would then be enforced by a roll call vote when 51 votes are needed to create the new Senate precedent.
The barrier is in place for now for Supreme Court nominees, but McConnell made clear Tuesday that he will do away with it later this week, presuming Democrats filibuster President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch as expected.
Coons, who led the talks from the Democratic side, said the talks failed because of a lack of trust.
But McConnell said there is no appetite for that and that it will not happen under his leadership.
Democrats made clear they had no plans to do so, and blamed Republicans for pushing them to attempt a almost unheard of filibuster of a well-qualified Supreme Court pick.
Gorsuch's confirmation would also serve as vindication for McConnell's strategy of refusing to fill Scalia's seat a year ago, instead leaving it open for the next president, even though few imagined then that that person would be Trump.
Nonetheless, McCain was prepared to vote with McConnell on the rules change, saying he felt he had no choice.
As such, this is nothing but partisan politics to the fullest, and if the Republicans can not garner the required 60 votes to end debate and send the nomination to the floor for a vote, we expect they will change the rules and confirm Judge Gorsuch on a straight party-line vote. Of course, I'm going to vote to confirm Judge Gorsuch.
"I think a judge that's going to be on the Supreme Court for more than 40 years ought to have some bipartisan support", she said.