“The U.S. Senate has become a COVID-19 hotspot and we need to take immediate action, guided by the best science, to put in place additional protections to safeguard the health of the Senate complex workers, Senate staff, and Senators,” Schumer said in an Oct. 7 statement.
Senators who don’t test negative for the disease would be barred from being present in committee hearings or on the Senate floor; Senate rules require senators to be physically present to vote.
Republican campaign strategists and conservative activists interviewed by The Epoch Times said the Barrett nomination explains Schumer’s abrupt switch on the congressional testing issue.
“His sudden flip-flop is just another tactic from the left to derail hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett. They know Barrett has the support of the American people, and they are looking for any excuse to delay her confirmation,” Anderson said.
Norquist wondered if Schumer’s “real problem is that Barrett has the votes to be confirmed” and Schumer “needs to avoid hearings that will make his party look hostile to the 25 percent of Americans who don’t think being Catholic should rule them out of polite company.”
A veteran Senate Republican strategist told The Epoch Times that “Schumer and Senate Dems are throwing every new argument up, even those that contradict earlier positions, as an effort to stop this constitutional procedure.”
The veteran strategist, who spoke on background, said, “Why didn’t he demand this earlier in the year? Why only now? And will he demand it after the Judge Barrett hearings are over? Of course not.”
Manley argued that Senate Republicans “can’t be bothered to pass more aid to help the economy but they are permitted to violate every Senate rule and norm to confirm another Supreme Court nominee is just another indication of how out of whack the Republican Party has become.”
Another Democratic strategist, Cristina Antelo, pointed to the advanced age of many senators as a reason for regular testing.
“Considering that we know the virus has a stronger impact and can turn deadly on those over age 65, and males, in particular, I am not sure why a proposal for testing a body that is largely old and male is all that controversial,” Antelo said. “As background, 48 U.S. Senators and 147 members of the House are over age 65, and men make up 74 percent of the Senate and 77 percent of the House.”
“These are self-reported numbers from a fraction of those who work on Capitol Hill. This doesn’t include all the support agencies, congressional offices, members of the media, and many others who work on Capitol Hill,” Phelps said.
“The fact remains that we don’t know how many people are still coming in to work or the actual positivity rate on Capitol Hill because the Speaker has failed to implement a health monitoring plan that includes some level of testing—like many universities, private businesses, and others have done to prevent the spread at their institutions,” she said.