Ayanna Pressley: ‘No confirmation until inauguration’
"They clearly have contempt for the American people."
Rep. Ayanna Pressley expressed indignation toward the Republican-led Senate in an MSNBC interview Saturday for pressing forward on Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination while suspending other legislative proceedings after the coronavirus struck three senators.
She emphasized the cognitive dissonance between relieving the Senate over coronavirus concerns while that very same body has ignored proposals for new relief packages to aid the public.
“They clearly have contempt for the American people,” the Massachusetts congresswoman said. “I think it is as a betrayal at the highest levels.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called Friday to stop work until Oct. 19 as the coronavirus has seeped into the Senate via three Republicans. Two of them — Mike Lee of Utah and Thom Tillis of North Carolina — sit on the Judiciary Committee and attended President Donald Trump’s ceremony on Sept. 26 where he nominated Barrett to the court. Several people who attended the event, including the president, have tested positive for the coronavirus in recent days.
McConnell said Friday that the confirmation hearings for Barrett will proceed on Oct. 12 as planned.
“Despite the fact that our Republican colleagues accuse the Democrats of trying to push their own agenda, that is what this GOP-led Senate has done and is looking to continue to do,” Pressley said in the interview. “That is why they have not moved on a comprehensive relief package to mitigate the hurt that Americans are feeling because of this pandemic and the economic hardship that it has wrought. Instead of moving on a comprehensive relief package, they’ve approved 222 federal far right-leaning judges.”
In response to concerns that a relief package would hurt the economy, Pressley emphasized that a healthy economy needs healthy people.
“We have been robbed of 208,000 American lives, and it didn’t have to be,” she said. “This Democratic-led house has passed multiple bipartisan relief bills to meet the scale and scope of this hurdle, prioritizing food assistance, rental assistance, state and local aid, and more importantly an investment for a robust national testing strategy and contact tracing. So our priority needs to be the public health. That is our greatest wealth as a country.”
The representative called to delay the Supreme Court confirmation until the inauguration in January, citing the wishes of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the precedent the Senate set with stonewalling President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland in 2016, and the threat to public health in and out of the Senate.
“I am very dismayed by this sham of a SCOTUS confirmation process that they were intent on railroading,” Pressley said. “This process must be delayed — no confirmation until inauguration — and I’m going to do everything possible to make sure that that inauguration is the inauguration of Vice President Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.”
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