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Chuck Schumer Demands Multiple Rounds of Independent COVID-19 Testing for Senators and Staff Before Supreme Court Nomination Hearings Begin

Chuck Schumer Demands Multiple Rounds of Independent COVID-19 Testing for Senators and Staff Before Supreme Court Nomination Hearings Begin

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is demanding COVID-19 testing Senators and staff before the chamber begins holding confirmation hearings for President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Appellate Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

Photo by Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

In a statement released on Monday, Schumer implored Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to require all Senators and staff to test negative two days in a row as well as on the day of the hearing, which is scheduled for October 12:

The Republican leadership has truly lost touch with reality if it’s contemplating marching COVID-stricken members to the Senate to rush through a Supreme Court nominee who could strip health care from 20 million Americans.  Instead of engaging in continuously more absurd and dangerous behavior, Chairman Graham should halt this already illegitimate nomination process, and if he refuses, he must put into place a thorough testing procedure that is in accordance with CDC best practices before hearings can take place. Every Senator and relevant staff must have negative tests on two consecutive days and have completed the appropriate quarantining period, and there should be mandatory testing every day of the hearing. Testing must be administered by an independent entity, such as the Attending Physician of the United States Congress.

Schumer accused Graham and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) of putting politics ahead of public health.

Failure to implement a thorough testing approach would be intentionally reckless, and could reasonably lead some wonder if Chairman Graham and Leader McConnell may not want to know the results, because it could delay this already illegitimate process.

Make no mistake about it, Americans are seeing the similarities between Republicans’ willingness to put their colleagues and staff at risk in pursuit of power, and their willingness to strip healthcare from tens of millions of Americans in pursuit of their ideological goals.

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Three Senate Republicans – Thom Tillis (NC), Ron Johnson (WI), and Mike Lee (UT) – have tested positive for the virus, prompting McConnell to delay the Senate’s return until October 19. Still, he said on Saturday, Barrett’s confirmation hearings will proceed as planned.

“The Senate’s floor schedule will not interrupt the thorough, fair, and historically supported confirmation process previously laid out by Chairman Graham,” McConnell said in a statement. “Certainly all Republican members of the committee will participate in these important hearings,” he added, noting that Senators can participate remotely if necessary.

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