Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has decided to double down on seeking a delay of Supreme Court Nominee Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation process due to multiple COVID-19 diagnoses within the Senate.
Three Senate Republicans have tested positive for COVID-19 within the last week, two of whom are on the Senate Judiciary Committee, providing the perfect opportunity for Senate Democrats to block the fast-tracking of her confirmation.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has pledged that these positive tests will not deter the GOP from pushing the confirmation through via virtual hearings, but Schumer has begun pushing hard in recent days for a delay.
“The idea of having virtual hearings where no one is with the witness for the highest court in the land for a life appointment that would have such effect on peoples’ lives makes no sense,” Schumer said in a Sunday press conference. “A virtual hearing is virtually no hearing at all.”
Schumer doubled down on Monday:
The GOP must halt this increasingly reckless Supreme Court process, and the Senate needs thorough COVID testing now… Americans see the similarity between GOP willingness to put Senators and staff at risk in pursuit of power and their willingness to strip health care from millions.
Judiciary Committee member Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) joined Schumer’s calls to halt the process, denying that Democrats are “using” the COVID-19 outbreak as a roadblock, rather that they are concerned about further spreading the virus.
“We don’t know how many other Republican senators have it … they have a lunch together where they don’t have masks,” she said on Sunday. “It’s very possible we’re going to have more senators, more staff. So I don’t know why you would ram through this Supreme Court hearing, put people in danger because it would be within that two-week period, while you have shut down the whole Senate.”
McConnell issued a statement on Saturday defying Democrat hopes to halt the process, saying, “The important work of the Senate’s committees can and will continue as each committee sees fit,” and adding that the Senate has been conducting business via a hybrid method that included virtual participation since the onset of the pandemic.