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COVID-19 Forces Senate to Delay Return to D.C.

More legislators have fallen ill from the virus

A rash of positive COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) diagnoses for Senate Republicans has led Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to postpone Senate floor activity for two weeks.

The Senate was in session last week and had been scheduled to return next Monday. Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT), Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Ron Johnson (R-WI) all confirmed they have tested positive for coronavirus, leading McConnell to announce a postponement until Oct. 19.

Lee and Tillis are members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and were at the White House Sept. 26 for President Donald Trump’s announcement that he has selected Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee for the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). Over the weekend, Trump was also treated for COVID-19 at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

Another member of the Judiciary Committee, Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE), was also at the White House for the Barrett announcement but tested negative for COVID-19. He said he plans to work from Nebraska until he receives additional testing.

The delay comes as McConnell seeks a swift confirmation for Barrett to fill the vacant seat on the Supreme Court following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. McConnell said the Senate Judiciary Committee will still begin confirmation hearings on Oct. 12.

“We are full steam ahead with the fair, thorough, and timely confirmation process that Judge Barrett, the Court, and the nation deserve,” McConnell said.

McConnell said Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) will employ the same hybrid format – with some participants appearing in person and others appearing over video – that it has used in previous hearings this year.

This article was provided to OSAE by the Power of A and ASAE's Inroads.

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