Ahead Of Confirmation Vote, Durbin Slams Senate Republicans For Jamming Through Supreme Court Nomination Instead Of Focusing On COVID-19 Pandemic

WASHINGTON – Ahead of the confirmation vote for President Donald Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today once again slammed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) single-minded focus on rushing through this nomination process instead of focusing on the urgent needs of the American people, including comprehensive bipartisan legislation to respond to the grave public health and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“This is more than just another nomination to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court.  It comes at a moment in time when we should be focusing on the deadly pandemic facing America.  We should have spent five straight days coming up with a COVID relief bill for the millions of Americans desperate for help today and desperate for peace of mind when it comes to this public health tragedy, which we are facing,” Durbin said.  “It is a nomination which comes before us when the rules of the Senate and the rules of the Senate Judiciary Committee are being twisted and turned to create a political opportunity for Senator McConnell and his side of the aisle.”

During his speech on the Senate floor, Durbin slammed Senate Republicans’ reversal on filling a Supreme Court vacancy in a presidential election year and argued it is a thinly-veiled effort to destroy the Affordable Care Act (ACA) after numerous failed attempts to undo the law in Congress.  Durbin emphasized the dangerous repercussions of filling this judicial vacancy without voters’ input as the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on the fate of the law just one week after the November 3, 2020, election. 

On September 27, 2020, President Trump tweeted, “Obamacare will be replaced with a MUCH better, and FAR cheaper, alternative if it is terminated in the Supreme Court. Would be a big WIN for the USA!”  President Trump told 60 Minutes last week, “I hope that they end it.”  And he said again at Thursday’s debate, “what we’d like to do is terminate it.” 

“Why do we raise the Affordable Care Act in the midst of this hearing for filling the Supreme Court vacancy?  For one simple reason: that’s what the President did… if you take him at his word, then Amy Coney Barrett is part of an agenda, a political agenda to eliminate the Affordable Care Act,” Durbin said.  

Durbin concluded, “The notion that this Justice is being hurried before us in the hopes that she will eliminate the Affordable Care Act in the midst of a pandemic certainly is worth noting.  It’s one of the many reasons I will vote no on Amy Coney Barrett.”

Video of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here for TV Stations.