October 7, 2020

McConnell: "We are full steam ahead" with Barrett Confirmation Process

Senate Majority Leader
Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
In a statement he gave on the Senate floor Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, "We are full steam ahead with the fair, thorough, and timely confirmation process that Judge Barrett, the Court, and the nation deserve."

McConnell's statement is a response to calls from Democrat Senators to delay the confirmation process after two Senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee tested positive for COVID-19. Senators Chuck Schumer and Dianne Feinstein called on Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham to delay hearings after Senators Mike Lee of Utah and Thom Tillis of North Carolina announced that they tested positive for the disease.

“It is premature for Chairman Graham to commit to a hearing schedule when we do not know the full extent of potential exposure stemming from the president’s infection and before the White House puts in place a contact tracing plan to prevent further spread of the disease.” they wrote. “The unfortunate news about the infection of our colleague Senator Mike Lee makes even more clear that health and safety must guide the schedule for all Senate activities, including hearings.”

They went on to argue that hearings discussing the appointment of a new Supreme Court justice are too important to hold remotely. McConnell took issue with that statement and accused Democrat lawmakers of hypocrisy in his address.

He pointed out that the Senate Judiciary Committee has held hybrid hearings with some participants appearing over video and some participants appearing in person more than 20 times this year. McConnell further stated and said that "the Democratic members of the Committee have gone out of their way to praise this technology and the Chairman's flexibility with this format."

"Across all our committees, we’ve had 150 hybrid hearings since the pandemic began," McConnell continued. "The Senate has used this format no fewer than 150 times. We have continued performing our constitutional duties while protecting health and safety during the pandemic. Our Democratic colleagues have largely welcomed this approach and they have frequently taken advantage of it. So whatever mix proves to be the right decision at this time next week, it will be completely consistent with the Committee’s own precedent, and with the ways committees across the Senate have adapted and done their work throughout this pandemic."

McConnell named several senators who explicitly stated that they would try to delay the nomination process as much as they could, and denounced the use of these arguments as "stall tactics."

"Chairman [Lindsey] Graham has all the options and procedures he needs to supervise a fair, thorough, and hopefully dignified confirmation hearing next week. And that’s just what is going to happen. I look forward to seeing Judge Barrett’s brilliance and qualifications on full display starting one week from today," McConnell concluded.

Click here to read Senator McConnell's full remarks.