Senate

Pence won't preside over Barrett's final confirmation vote

Vice President Pence will not preside over Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett's final confirmation vote after five members of his circle tested positive for COVID-19.

Senate Republican Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) said "that's my understanding" when asked about reports that Pence will not preside over the final confirmation vote for Barrett, which he was just a few days ago expected to do.

A senior Senate Republican aide said the White House has indicated that Pence will not be in the chamber when Barrett is confirmed.

Fifty-two Senate Republicans are expected to vote for Barrett, which means the vice president won't be needed to break a 50-50 tie. 

Senators are scheduled to hold a roll-call vote on Barrett at approximately 7:30 p.m. Monday. 

At least five people close to Pence, including his chief of staff, Marc Short, have tested positive for the virus in recent days. 

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.) and other Democratic leaders earlier asked Pence to reconsider his plan to be in the chamber for the historic vote, which they argued would put senators at risk.

"With five of your closest aides recently testing positive for COVID-19, it is not a risk worth taking. We ask you to reconsider," they wrote in a letter to the vice president dated Oct. 25.

"Not only would your presence in the Senate Chamber tomorrow be a clear violation of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, it would also be a violation of common decency and courtesy," they wrote.

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