10.04.20

SCHUMER: CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK THAT HAS SICKENED POTUS & OTHERS, WHILE DELAYING SENATE FOR TWO WEEKS MEANS “BUSINESS AS USUAL” SIMPLY CANNOT CONTINUE; SCOTUS HEARINGS MUST BE POSTPONED UNTIL OUTBREAK IS BEHIND US; LACK OF TRANSPARECY ALSO TROUBLING

Outbreak & Judiciary Sicknesses Demand Hearings For SCOTUS Be Delayed; Virtual Hearings For Such A Critical Appointment Would Be Unacceptable To Supreme Court Confirmation Process & Public

President’s Own Coronavirus Infection & Spread To Senate Must Serve As A Reality Check For Leader McConnell To Prioritize Public Health; Deficient Contact Tracing & Lack Of Transparency Also Very Concerning

Schumer To McConnell: Public Health Must Come Before Politics

Speaking on the heels of Leader McConnell’s decision to recess the Senate for two weeks amid a coronavirus outbreak now hitting the White House and the Senate, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer said, today, that business as usual simply cannot continue as the virus runs rampant and a contact tracing effort remains largely deficient. Schumer said this coronavirus outbreak, at the highest levels of government, means it is too dangerous to have the Senate in session and for SCOTUS committee hearings to continue.

“The president’s own coronavirus infection, spread to the Senate, as well as a deficient contact tracing process must serve as a reality check for Leader McConnell to once-and-for-all prioritize public health and science over politics,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “Ignoring the risk, turning a blind-eye to what the experts tell us and failing on transparency will not make the coronavirus go away. Instead, those actions will only allow the virus to continue its spread. This will keep on happening in and around the Capitol if we continue with business as usual.”

Schumer said Leader McConnell and Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham’s drive to confirm Judge Barrett at all costs needlessly threatens the health and safety of Senators, staff, and all those who work in the Capitol complex. Schumer said the SCOTUS hearings must be postponed until the outbreak is fully behind us and that the current situation should serve as a reality check for Leader McConnell as he urged him to prioritize public health over politics.

According to the Washington Post, the crisis has exposed anew how the White House has operated as if it were insulated from a virus officials regarded as overhyped and not nearly as contagious as the one scientists and doctors have been meticulously studying since January. Schumer says now the U.S. Senate is faced with this same kind of reality check.  

“Three Senators have already tested positive for COVID and we do not yet know the full extent of exposure or infection among Senators or Capitol Hill staff,” Schumer added.  “As we continue to learn of additional colleagues testing positive for COVID-19, it is increasingly clear that rushing Amy Coney Barrett’s hearing forward in the midst of a COVID outbreak in the White House and Senate would turn an illegitimate process into a reckless and dangerous one. At the same time, there has been bipartisan agreement that remote hearings for lifetime appointments to higher federal courts is absolutely insufficient to allow for the necessary meaningful and thorough review of nominees and it should go without saying that this is doubly true for a nominee to the Supreme Court.”

Schumer also said the risk a live hearing holds also underscores the issue of healthcare in America.

“Judge Barrett’s confirmation would lead to the end of the Affordable Care Act, during a pandemic, while tens of thousands of Americans are being diagnosed with COVID-19 each day. As the virus continues to run rampant - and the 7 million Americans who survived the disease have a lifetime pre-existing condition - rushing a nominee onto the Court who will rip insurance away from 20 million Americans when they need it most, while simultaneously stripping pre-existing condition protections for 130 million citizens, only adds insult to injury. It’s critical we hold a full and fair hearing that is not rushed, not truncated, and not virtual.  The health of the American people, as well as Senators, staff and the Nominee depend on it,” Schumer said.

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