COVID-19 spread among Senators good reason to delay SCOTUS vote: Schumer

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., pauses outside the Senate chamber during a break as the Senate continues with the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020.
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

By Mark Hallum

President Donald Trump is sick and COVID-19’s spreading among lawmakers poised to vote on a replacement to Ruth Bader Ginsberg on the U.S. Supreme Court is prompting U.S. Senator Charles Schumer to urge the vote to be delayed.

With Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham committing to approve Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the bench of the Supreme Court, Schumer says video conferencing is no substitute to an in-person meeting on the matter; but a gathering in the chamber could put federal legislators in peril.

Three senators are currently positive for COVID-19, Schumer claims, with no data on how the virus could be spreading among staffers on Capitol Hill.

“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,” Schumer said. “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.”

According to Schumer, another reason to postpone the vote exists.

The senator said with certainty that if approved, Barrett would facilitate the end of the Affordable Care Act enacted under President Barack Obama and credited with giving Americans health care at a reduced cost. This would put the public in a precarious position under normal circumstances, but Schumer says the pandemic creates a whole new level of urgency to keep the Affordable Care Act in tact.

“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.

Schumer hopes to convince McConnell to back down on the SCOTUS vote and make time for further negotiations on a COVID-19 relief bill.

More from Around NYC

>