Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) tested negative for COVID-19 on Oct. 24 after two of her staffers tested positive for the virus.
“On Friday, Senator Loeffler was tested for COVID-19 after learning that two of her DC Senate staffers had tested positive. Senator Loeffler tested negative,” a spokesperson from her office said in a statement.
“Senator Loeffler is more energized than ever to vote to confirm Amy Coney Barrett as the next Supreme Court Justice on Monday before returning home and traveling the state to meet with hardworking Georgians.”
The Republican-controlled Senate reconvened on Oct. 24 to debate Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court, as Democrats continued to oppose the process. The move to convene a meeting over the weekend makes way for a final confirmation vote to take place on Oct. 26.
Democrats called up a series of bills such as the Violence Against Women Act and a pandemic spending measure during the session in an attempt to delay the debate.
“Rather than fighting big money or tackling corruption, rather than addressing any of the myriad of problems in our democracy that this country faces, Leader McConnell is undoing democracy by rushing through a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court mere days before an election,” Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said.
Republicans’ push to confirm Barrett to the nation’s highest court comes weeks before the Nov. 3 presidential election, drawing criticism from their Democratic colleagues who say the winner of the election should select the nominee to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Democrats have also taken issue with holding the proceedings during the pandemic as well as the tight schedule set by Republicans.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on the Senate floor: “Judge Barrett’s confirmation process has followed every rule. It’s followed the Constitution in every respect. We have abided by the norms and traditions dictated by our history. And Mr. President, we’re going to vote tomorrow.”
Multiple senators have tested positive since the start of the pandemic, including Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.).
On Oct. 19, Senate Democrats sent a letter to McConnell and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) saying that the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases on Capitol Hill requires increased testing for all those working there.
The letter argued that “with 123 positive cases amongst Legislative Branch employees or contractors, it is critical that everyone has access to and the assurance of strong testing protocols to prevent the unidentified spread that has occurred in several instances over the past few months. Failing to provide this testing puts everybody within the Capitol complex at risk.”
The senators urged McConnell and Pelosi to provide expanded testing for all those who work on the Hill.
“Throughout the pandemic, the staff who keep operations going in the Capitol have faced numerous challenges and are showing up to work even as many congressional offices have their staff work remotely,” they wrote. “They work long, often irregular hours and are committed to ensuring that the Capitol and its facilities and patrons are treated with the utmost respect and dignity.”
Masooma Haq contributed to this report.