Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) sounded the alarm to his colleagues on Sunday, a day before Vice President Mike Pence will preside over Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation vote. Pence is set to appear on the Senate floor on Monday despite several of the VP’s aides testing positive for COVID-19.
In a Dear Colleague letter issued Sunday before the Senate Republicans voted 51-48 to advance Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination, setting up a final confirmation vote for Monday, Schumer advised his colleagues against congregating in the Senate chamber in light of several Pence aides contracting COVID-19.
Schumer took aim at Pence, who heads the White House coronavirus task force, for failing to comply with CDC guidelines for self-quarantining.
“The Vice President is maintaining his campaign schedule and, inexplicably, intends to preside over the Senate chamber tomorrow evening,” Schumer wrote. “Their carelessness with the health and safety of their colleagues and Capitol employees mirrors their carelessness with the health and safety of Americans during this crisis.”
Schumer then advised his caucus to cast “votes quickly and from a safe distance.”
“Considering the Republicans’ refusal (to) follow CDC guidelines regarding quarantining and contact tracing, I would recommend that you not congregate in the Senate chamber today and that you cast your votes quickly and from a safe distance,” Schumer wrote.
Dear Colleague letter from @SenSchumer to the Senate Democratic caucus following the news that a number of Senate Republican staffers and members of Pence's team have recently tested positive for COVID-19 pic.twitter.com/3Kpq4O9Re0
— Alayna Treene (@alaynatreene) October 25, 2020
While appearing on the Senate floor later Sunday following Republicans’ vote to advance Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination, Schumer remarked that Pence is setting a “terrible example” by appearing on the floor on Monday evening to preside over the chamber after his aides contracted COVID-19.
“The Vice President who’s been exposed to five people with COVID-19 will ignore CDC guidelines to be here tomorrow putting the health of everyone who works in this building at risk,” Schumer said. “It sets a terrible, terrible example for the American people and nothing could be more a metaphor for what’s going on here.”
Schumer then tore into the Republican Party for being “willing to ignore” the pandemic, to rush Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination forward and allowing Pence’s upcoming appearance on the Senate floor after being potentially exposed to COVID-19.