With 3 GOP Senators With COVID-19, Mitch McConnell’s Plan For Quick Supreme Court Confirmation Are On Hold
Three GOP senators have now been diagnosed with COVID-19, which potentially threatens President Donald Trump’s plans to quickly confirm Amy Coney Barrett as a new Supreme Court Justice.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) announced Saturday that there would be no action taken by the Senate for the next two weeks. This includes voting on Barrett’s confirmation, which was a surprise considering McConnell has been working with Trump and the GOP on securing her spot in the Supreme Court before the presidential election in November.
The Senate Judiciary Committee will meet the week of October 12 for Barrett’s confirmation hearings, despite floor action in the Senate being halted. Democrats were upset by the announcement, arguing that normal business can’t occur due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham must call a quorum present for a vote on October 15. Currently, there are two Republican members of the committee ill with COVID-19, Sens. Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina) and Mike Lee (R-Utah). In order to call a quorum, one of the two needs to be healthy and able to vote. If not, the vote would be suspended, which would delay the nomination process and potentially make it impossible to confirm Barrett by the Senate prior to the election.
The Capitol has posed a threat of a coronavirus outbreak for a long time. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Missouri) has attempted to create a plan for testing members of Congress regularly, and he has been backed by Trump on this. Trump wants to use rapid testing at the Capitol, but those efforts were shot down by McConnell and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
Blunt has referred to the Capitol as a “petri dish,” due to the fact that members have been flying around the country and then returning to the Capitol for meetings with other members without regular testing.