GOP senator: Barrett hearings will ‘no doubt’ proceed despite coronavirus outbreak in Washington

Confirmation hearings for Amy Coney Barrett will go on in the Senate, rain, shine, or coronavirus, Republican Tom Cotton (AR) said Sunday.

According to Fox News, the Arkansas senator dismissed the idea of waiting to confirm President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, even after Trump and a handful of GOP senators fell ill with the coronavirus.

“Everyone is eager”

Until now, stopping Barrett from rising to the Supreme Court was considered basically a lost cause for Democrats. But Democrats sensed an opportunity after Trump, his wife Melania, and three Republican senators came down with the virus. Some of Trump’s staffers have the virus as well, including Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, as ABC News reports.

Now, according to the New York Post, Dems are calling for delays on Barrett’s confirmation hearings — scheduled to begin on Oct. 12 — until “contact tracing” is in place. But Republicans seem unfazed.

In an interview with Fox News anchor Maria Bartiromo on Sunday, Cotton said that he has “no doubt” that the GOP will move ahead with Barrett’s nomination, adding that his colleagues are experiencing mild symptoms at worst.

“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, according to Fox.

The senators infected are Mike Lee (R-UT), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Ron Johnson (R-WI). Sens. Lee and Tillis are on the Judiciary Committee, which plays an important role in the nomination process, The Hill notes.

“No doubt in my mind”

Democrats have recently balked at the suggestion of virtual hearings, prompting a barbed reply from Cotton, who added Sunday that the Senate should be able to convene for a floor vote as well at the end of October.

“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,” he said, according to Fox.

Cotton added: “So the hearing is going to go forward, no doubt in my mind, starting a week from tomorrow.”

The senator’s message comes as the president returned from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Monday, Fox reported separately, following a weekend of convalescence.

Although Democrats are trying to delay the process for Trump and his Supreme Court nominee, Republicans seem just as determined to keep things moving.

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