Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders Urge Stimulus Bill Focus Over Amy Coney Barrett Hearings

By: Jacob Jarvis; Newsweek

Several senators have suggested lawmakers should be focused on passing a stimulus bill as opposed to facilitating Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings.

These hearings into President Donald Trump‘s SCOTUS pick will begin Monday, amid a continued impasse over a further relief package to be enacted amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have expressed support for relief action to be taken in some form but disputes, largely over the cost of measures, have seen a stalemate in terms of reaching a bill capable of garnering bipartisan support.

The Senate GOP has previously pushed against proposals passed by the House, with Republican leadership facing criticism over the swift speed they have since acted upon moving to confirm Barrett.

“The vast majority of Americans want the Senate to pass additional COVID-19 relief legislation instead of pushing through a Supreme Court confirmation,” the Democratic vice presidential candidate, Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), tweeted. “Countless Americans are hanging on to their homes by a thread—they must be our priority.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont joined this call for stimulus to be the Senate’s main focus. 

“The only thing the Senate should be doing right now is voting on a stimulus package to provide immediate economic relief to working class Americans—not ramming through a Supreme Court nominee who will strip health care from 20 million Americans in the middle of a pandemic,” he tweeted.

Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) said the Senate “should not be doing this” in regards to the hearings. “We shouldn’t even be holding these hearings – we should be delivering aid to Americans who are devastated by a pandemic,” he tweeted, while in a video message he suggested the Senate, if it is working on anything, should be taking up relief legislation.

Amid the delay in action, the White House has called for action to be taken in piecemeal fashion, bemoaning what it branded an “all-or-nothing approach” from Democrats.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has insisted proposals from the Trump administration do “not meet the health needs of this crisis.”

“This past week, the President demonstrated very clearly that he has not taken the war against the virus seriously, personally or nationally,” she said in a statement released Sunday. “This attitude is reflected in the grossly inadequate response we finally received from the Administration on Saturday.”

While she said issues left the talks at an impasse, she added: “However, I remain hopeful that the White House will join us to work toward a relief package that addresses the health and economic crisis facing America’s families and will do so soon.”

Trump adviser Larry Kudlow also suggested whether a deal will be possible, despite questions over whether a package could gain support in the Senate.