President Donald Trump is urging Republicans to speed up the confirmation process for his Supreme Court nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, so they can commit to passing a second coronavirus stimulus package.
The Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday, October 12, began its confirmation hearings for Barrett. Should she be confirmed, Barrett would “lock in” the conservative majority on the Supreme Court by 6-3, according to Business Insider.
Trump that same day urged Republicans to skip days of hearings and quickly confirm Barrett so that they can turn their attention toward the relief deal, which has yet again reached an impasse after months of back-and-forth negotiations on Capitol Hill.
“The Republicans are giving the Democrats a great deal of time, which is not mandated, to make their self serving statements relative to our great new future Supreme Court Justice,” the president tweeted. “Personally, I would pull back, approve, and go for STIMULUS for the people!!”
He doubled down on his stance in a later tweet, telling Republicans to “strongly” focus on “completing a wonderful stimulus package for the American People!”
The legislative window to pass a massive relief bill, including extended unemployment benefits and direct stimulus check, before the upcoming presidential election is closing, with Election Day under a month away.
Both sides of the aisle recently denounced the White House’s $1.8 trillion coronavirus relief proposal, with Republicans condemning its overall price tag as too high, The Washington Post reported. Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pushed for more funding for unemployment insurance, state and local aid, child care and other Democratic priorities, the newspaper continued.
Here’s what you need to know:
Democrats Have Criticized the Short Supreme Court Confirmation Timeline
Democrats are criticizing the short confirmation timetable, arguing “that it would come at the expense of passing another federal rescue package to pump hundreds of billions of dollars into the economy and aid jobless Americans and businesses in the short term,” Business Insider said.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden recently slammed Republicans for moving ahead with Barrett’s confirmation process instead of passing a second round of coronavirus relief.
“In the middle of this pandemic, why do the Republicans have the time to hold a hearing on the Supreme Court instead of providing the significant economic need to localities?” Biden asked at a recent Ohio campaign event.
Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont echoed that sentiment on Monday, October 12, during his opening remarks at the Supreme Court hearing.
“We shouldn’t be spending time on this when we are doing absolutely nothing to pass a much-needed COVID bill,” he expressed.
A Handful of Senate Republicans Described the Administration’s $1.8 Trillion Proposal as a Betrayal
A group of Republican senators pushed back on the administration’s $1.8 trillion stimulus proposal, including Tennessee’s Marsha Blackburn, who called the bill the “death knell” of the GOP majority, The Washington Post reported.
Despite this opposition, National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow expressed hope on October 11 that there is still potential for a second stimulus package.
“No I don’t think it’s dead at all,” he said on CNN’s State of the Union. “I think if an agreement can be reached, they [Republican Senators] will go along with it.”
Kudlow blasted his “Democratic friends” to host Jake Tapper for their failure to consider smaller relief bills, including the administration’s calls for targeted assistance for the Paycheck Protection Program, schools, extended unemployment benefits and second stimulus checks.
“These are simple things that have bipartisan support,” he said. “We can do it as standalone bills … or whatever — but I don’t understand the intransigence from my Democratic friends.”