Sen. Tom Cotton not worried COVID-19 will delay Barrett’s confirmation
President Donald Trump wasn’t the only elected official to contract the coronavirus last week. Since his diagnosis, a number of Republican U.S. Senators have also tested positive for the virus. With Republicans only holding a small majority in the Senate, this raised the question of whether or not Republicans could move forward with confirming Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.
Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton says there is no cause for alarm.
“Everyone is eager to be at work when they need to be at work. If they’re on the Judiciary Committee, a week from tomorrow, either in person or virtually, to have the confirmation hearings for Judge Barrett and then have the vote on Judge Barrett this month,” he said.
Sens. Mike Lee, Thom Tillis and Ron Johnson have all tested positive for the virus. Cotton said he’s spoken to each of them and some are having mild symptoms while others remain asymptomatic.
Cotton pointed out that there have already been 20 Senate Judiciary Committee meetings held virtually this year, so his caucus will be at the confirmation hearings either in person or online.
“Many Senate Democrats who are now saying we couldn’t possibly do a virtual hearing were demanding throughout this year, going back to March, that all committees be conducted over Zoom or Webex or some other kind of virtual hearing,” Cotton said. “So, the hearing is going to go forward, no doubt in my mind, starting a week from tomorrow.”
Assuming their health improves with no major complications from the virus, each of the infected senators should be cleared to return to work well before a vote on Barrett would be held on the Senate floor. Cotton said that he is confident any senator whose vote is needed will be in attendance.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer disagrees and says the Senate should not hold hearings during this time of increased cases amongst senators.
“If it’s not safe for the Senate to meet in session, it’s not safe for the hearings to go forward,” Schumer said on Sunday. “Mitch McConnell seems to be jamming through the hearings on Amy Coney Barrett, even though three senators have COVID, even though he has said it is not safe for the Senate to meet in sessions.”
McConnell released a statement saying the Senate’s floor schedule “will not interrupt the thorough, fair and historically supported confirmation process previously laid out.”
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