Republicans aggressively questioned Hill, who is also black, suggesting that she had made up the unwelcome advances from Thomas and trying to raise doubts about her stability.
The White House and Justice Department haven't instructed the FBI to investigate the matter, keeping them from probing the facts of the case.
Blasey Ford claimed Kavanaugh forced himself on her during a party in the early 1980s in Bethesda, Md., when the two were teenagers.
The committee announced on Monday it would hold a public hearing next week for Kavanaugh and Ford.
Christine Blasey Ford said he tried to attack her and remove her clothing in 1982 when they were both high school students in a Maryland suburb outside Washington.
"I want to hear from Dr Ford", Grassley said. "As a school that empowers women to use their voices, we are proud of this alumna for using hers", Jones said.
They're hoping their new strategy will salvage Kavanaugh's endangered nomination with a risky, nationally televised showdown between the appeals court judge and his accuser.
Democrats have criticized the Kavanaugh nomination process.
The hearing is certain to be conflicting and emotive.
Shortly before Grassley's announcement, the senator said there would be private, telephone interviews of Kavanaugh and Ford conducted by committee staffers. He added later, "You're raising legitimate questions that are still in my mind".
Kavanaugh went to the White House on Monday, but Trump said he did not meet with his nominee.
As Democrats walked away from the microphones at their weekly Senate press conference, Hirono confronted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who was walking to the mics.
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"We just don't know what happened 36 years ago and there are gaps in her memory".
Ford described Kavanaugh and Mark Judge, a second boy in the room, as "stumbling drunk" in her interview with the Post. Kavanaugh, who has denied the assault allegation, met with officials at the White House on Tuesday for a second straight day. "I am willing to talk to the Senate Judiciary Committee in any way the Committee deems appropriate to refute this false allegation, from 36 years ago, and defend my integrity".
But on both sides of the aisle, there was wide agreement that the questioning of Thomas and Hill was not the Senate Judiciary Committee's finest hour. Diane Feinstein of California, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Among the GOP defectors was Sen. Flake said he told No. 2 Senate Republican leader John Cornyn of Texas on Sunday that "if we didn't give her a chance to be heard, then I would vote no".
There was enormous pressure on GOP Sens.
Both Kavanaugh and Ford, his accuser, were invited to testify on the allegations, delaying the committee's vote which was previously scheduled for September 20.
Collins said that in a telephone conversation with Kavanaugh on Friday he was "absolutely emphatic" that the assault didn't occur. She said it would be "disqualifying" if Kavanaugh was lying. He declined to say whether Kavanaugh had offered to withdraw, dismissing the question as "ridiculous". Neither Collins nor Murkowski faces re-election this fall.
A draft letter, appearing to be signed by more than 200 Holton-Arms alumnae from 1967 to 2018, called for an investigation into the allegation and said Ford's experience is one that is "all too consistent with stories we heard and lived while attending Holton". Republicans said late Tuesday they were considering hiring outside attorneys, presumably including women, to question the witnesses.
The alleged incident happened at a small party the summer before Ford's junior year, Ford's lawyer, Lisa Banks, said in an interview with Morning Edition's Rachel Martin. The statement seemed to suggest that the Federal Bureau of Investigation was not now investigating it.
Ford received her Ph.D. from the University of Southern California, master's degrees from Stanford University and Pepperdine University, and her bachelor's degree from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Kavanaugh is now a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, widely viewed as the nation's second-most-powerful court.