Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Thom Tillis of North Carolina introduced they’d examined constructive — simply days after attending a White Home occasion the place President Donald Trump nominated Barrett. A number of attendees of that occasion, together with Trump, have examined constructive within the week for the reason that ceremony, which featured many individuals not sporting masks and never observing social distancing protocols.
Senate Minority Chief Chuck Schumer on Friday renewed calls for for Republicans to delay Barrett’s affirmation hearings. However Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham instructed CNN on Friday night time he plans to maneuver forward with affirmation hearings on October 12 and a committee vote later within the month.
Graham stated he wants the 2 senators to be again by October 15, when the committee will start its debate of the nomination after the hearings are achieved.
The South Carolina Republican stated he expects the members who’ve examined constructive to be again in time for a committee vote on October 22. The priority is that if Democrats boycott the commitee vote, the GOP might not have a quorum for that vote if each senators are absent. The committee guidelines require a majority of members on the panel to be current for a quorum.
However even when they do not have a quorum, Senate Majority Chief Mitch McConnell can at all times advance the nomination to the ground below the principles.
The higher concern for Republicans is the Senate flooring vote, for which lawmakers do have to be current to vote and for which the GOP has no margin for error. If Tillis and Lee had been to be gone for an prolonged interval, it could threaten the possibilities of confirming Barrett, given Republicans’ 53-47 majority.
Already, two different Republicans — Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska — have signaled they’re unlikely to vote for Barrett as a result of they suppose the excessive courtroom choice ought to be made by whoever wins the White Home on November 3.
If solely Lee had been out, Barrett may nonetheless get confirmed with the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Mike Pence. But when yet one more Republican had been unavailable to vote, they would not have the votes to substantiate Barrett. So now that Tillis can be getting into isolation, the GOP’s math will get trickier because it’s unknown how lengthy the senators will probably be out.
Republicans have instructed CNN the present plan is to vote on the nomination the final week of October.
Lee tweeted on Friday that he took the take a look at Thursday, and would “stay remoted” for 10 days. He stated he has “assured” Senate Republican leaders that he’ll “be again to work” to hitch the Judiciary panel to advance Barrett’s nomination to the complete Senate for a affirmation vote.
“Over the previous couple of months, I have been routinely examined for COVID-19, together with testing destructive final Saturday, however tonight my speedy antigen take a look at got here again constructive,” Tillis stated.
“Fortunately, I’ve no signs and I really feel nicely. As everyone knows, COVID-19 is a really contagious and lethal virus, particularly as a result of many carriers are asymptomatic. I encourage all North Carolinians to comply with the suggestions of medical specialists, together with sporting a masks, washing fingers, and working towards social distancing.”
“I am wishing @SenThomTillis a fast restoration following his constructive COVID-19 take a look at, and am considering of him and his household,” Cunningham stated. “As a result of I used to be with Senator Tillis lately on the controversy stage, I may even get examined.”
Tillis staffers who had been in touch with him this week will quarantine and get exams within the coming days, and his Charlotte marketing campaign headquarters is closed till additional discover.
Barrett examined destructive for coronavirus on Friday, in response to White Home spokesperson Judd Deere, and CNN reported earlier Friday that she was identified with coronavirus late this summer time however has recovered, in response to three sources conversant in the matter.
Trump disclosed that he contracted the virus hours earlier than Lee’s announcement.
Lee stated he skilled signs “in keeping with longtime allergic reactions” on Thursday morning and took the take a look at “out of an abundance of warning.” He stated he additionally took the take a look at “just some days in the past” when he visited the White Home for the announcement of Barrett’s nomination.
“Like so many different Utahns, I’ll now spend a part of 2020 working from residence,” stated Lee in his assertion.
CNN’s Jim Acosta and Pam Brown contributed to this report.