Republicans on Saturday sought to call off legislative work in the Senate until Oct. 19 as the coronavirus reached into their ranks. But they vowed that hearings for President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee would push ahead as planned even as lawmakers increasingly demanded testing for everyone on Capitol Hill.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett will still begin Oct. 12, even if Democrats agree to cancel the regular Senate session to avoid further spread of COVID-19. Since Friday morning, three GOP senators have announced they have tested positive.
“The Senate’s floor schedule will not interrupt the thorough, fair and historically supported confirmation process,” the Kentucky Republican wrote. Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, who is running for reelection in South Carolina, added that senators can attend the hearings virtually.
“Certainly,” McConnell wrote, “all Republican members of the committee will participate in these important hearings.”
But Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer took aim at that plan, saying that if the COVID threat is too great for Senate sessions, it makes Barrett’s confirmation perilous, too.
The Republicans’ “monomaniacal drive to confirm Judge Barrett at all costs needlessly threatens the