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GOP senator says he would try to vote for SCOTUS nominee even if COVID-19 positive

GOP senator says he would try to vote for SCOTUS nominee even if COVID-19 positive
© Greg Nash

Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonDemocrat announces 2022 bid for Ron Johnson's seat Senators battle over Supreme Court nominee in rare Saturday session Sunday shows preview: Trump, Biden gear up for final sprint to Election Day MORE (R-Wis.) said on Monday that he would try to return to the Senate to vote for President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump admin to announce coronavirus vaccine will be covered under Medicare, Medicaid: report Election officials say they're getting suspicious emails that may be part of malicious attack on voting: report McConnell tees up Trump judicial pick following Supreme Court vote MORE's Supreme Court nominee even if he is still positive for the coronavirus.  

"If we have to go in and vote, I've already told leadership I’ll go in a moon suit," Johnson told KHOW, a Colorado radio station. "We think this is pretty important. I think people can be fairly confident that Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell tees up Trump judicial pick following Supreme Court vote Democrats warn GOP will regret Barrett confirmation GOP Senate confirms Trump Supreme Court pick to succeed Ginsburg MORE is dedicated to holding this vote." 

Pressed if he would go in to vote even if he, hypothetically, tested positive the day before the Senate's vote on Judge Amy Coney Barrett's nomination, Johnson added: "I would certainly try to find a way. Again making sure that everyone was safe." 

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Johnson is one of three Republican senators who have said since Friday that they tested positive for the coronavirus. 

Unlike Sens. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeWhite House to host swearing-in event for Barrett on Monday night Pence adviser Marty Obst tests positive for COVID-19 Two Loeffler staffers test positive for COVID-19 MORE (R-Utah) and Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisTrump campaign asks Supreme Court to halt North Carolina absentee ballot plan White House to host swearing-in event for Barrett on Monday night Democrats brace for nail-biting finish to Senate battle MORE (R-N.C.), Johnson is not on the Judiciary Committee, which is responsible for sending Barrett's nomination to the floor, and he was not at the White House event earlier this month where Trump announced Barrett as his pick to succeed the late Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgBarrett sworn in as Supreme Court justice by Thomas Roberts to administer judicial oath to Barrett Tuesday Hillary Clinton tweets 'vote them out' after Senate GOP confirm Barrett MORE

Republicans are vowing to move forward with their timeline to confirm Barrett before the Nov. 3 election, even though Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will try to adjourn the Senate, absent brief pro forma sessions, later Monday.  

But the Senate's outbreak of COVID-19 is complicating the timeline for the Supreme Court fight. In addition to the three senators currently positive for the coronavirus, an additional three senators are working remotely due to exposure from their colleagues, though they've tested negative.  

That caps McConnell's previous 53-47 seat majority at 47 seats for at least a week. Sens. James LankfordJames Paul LankfordMcConnell says he would give Trump-backed coronavirus deal a vote in Senate Senators push for Turkey sanctions after reports Ankara used Russian system to detect US-made jets McConnell: Plan is to confirm Trump's Supreme Court pick before election MORE (R-Okla.), Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzGOP clears key hurdle on Barrett's Supreme Court nomination, setting up Monday confirmation Texas and North Carolina: Democrats on the verge? Senate GOP to drop documentary series days before election hitting China, Democrats over coronavirus MORE (R-Texas) and Ben SasseBenjamin (Ben) Eric SasseGOP Senate confirms Trump Supreme Court pick to succeed Ginsburg President Trump: To know him is to 'No' him Sweden bans use of Huawei, ZTE equipment in new 5G networks MORE (R-Neb.) have said they expected to end their quarantine next week, which would bring McConnell to 50 members. 

The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to start Barrett's hearing on Oct. 12, with Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGOP Senate confirms Trump Supreme Court pick to succeed Ginsburg Murkowski predicts Barrett won't overturn Roe v. Wade Biden seeks to close any path for Trump win in race's final days MORE (R-S.C.) planning to hold a committee vote on Oct. 22. That would pave the way for the full Senate to take up Barrett's nomination during the final week of October.