Harris to take part in Barrett hearings remotely

Harris to take part in Barrett hearings remotely
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Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisFive House Democrats who could join Biden Cabinet GOP senator: No indication of widespread voting irregularities, window for Trump challenges is 'closing' Biden pledges to work with mayors MORE (D-Calif.), the Democratic vice presidential nominee, will take part in this week's confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett remotely from her Senate office, a spokesperson said on Sunday, citing Republicans' response to a recent coronavirus outbreak. 

"Due to Judiciary Committee Republicans’ refusal to take commonsense steps to protect members, aides, Capitol complex workers, and members of the media, Senator Harris plans to participate in this week’s hearings remotely from her Senate office in the Hart building," said Chris Harris, a spokesman for the Democratic senator.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to start four days of hearings for Barrett on Monday. Senators have the option of participating remotely, though the judge is expected to testify in person. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamFeinstein to step down as top Democrat on Judiciary Committee Democrats face increasing pressure to back smaller COVID-19 stimulus Media and Hollywood should stop their marching-to-Georgia talk MORE (R-S.C.) has also said he will oversee the hearing in person. 


Kamala Harris said earlier Sunday that "Chairman Graham and Senate Republicans are endangering the lives of not just members and our staff, but the hardworking people who keep the Senate complex running" by moving forward with the hearings. 

The Judiciary Committee has put social distancing measures in place, including spreading out senators and limiting staff and press in the room. But Democrats had called on Graham to either delay the hearing or require testing, which the GOP chairman rejected. 

Sens. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisTeam Trump offering 'fire hose' of conspiracy Kool-Aid for supporters Loeffler isolating after possible COVID-19 infection North Carolina's Mark Walker expected to announce Senate bid MORE (R-N.C.) and Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeLoeffler isolating after possible COVID-19 infection Rick Scott tests positive for coronavirus OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Barrasso to seek top spot on Energy and Natural Resources Committee | Forest Service finalizes rule weakening environmental review of its projects | Biden to enlist Agriculture, Transportation agencies in climate fight MORE (R-Utah) both tested positive recently for the coronavirus. Two other GOP members of the committee, Sens. Ben SasseBen SasseWhoopi Goldberg blasts Republicans not speaking against Trump: 'This is an attempted coup' Hogan 'embarrassed that more people' in the GOP 'aren't speaking up' against Trump Democrats gear up for last oversight showdown with Trump MORE (R-Neb.) and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzMcSally, staff asked to break up maskless photo op inside Capitol Capitol's COVID-19 spike could be bad Thanksgiving preview Republican senators urge Trump to label West Bank goods as 'Made in Israel' MORE (R-Texas), are self-isolating but are expected to return this week for all or part of the hearings. 

Sen. Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstThe Memo: Trump plows ahead with efforts to overturn election More conservatives break with Trump over election claims Peggy Noonan: 'Bogus dispute' by Trump 'doing real damage' MORE (R-Iowa), a member of the committee who is in a tough reelection bid, said on Saturday that she thought members of the committee should get tested. 

“I actually do think that it would be smart to do that, and I hate to do it without having reasons to do so, but I think if we’re going to be working in close proximity over long hours, it’s probably not a bad idea,” she told reporters in the Hawkeye State on Saturday. 

Graham has defended the decision to start the hearings on Monday, noting that the committee room will comply with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. 

"We're setting the hearing room up based on CDC guidelines. I just got a statement today from the Architect of the Capitol, who consulted with the House physician saying that the room is set up in a compliant way," Graham said during a forum in South Carolina late last week.