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Pandemic Priorities: Mitch McConnell & Senate GOP Pump the Brakes on Vital COVID-19 Rescue Bill But Greenlight Trump's Judicial Nominees

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, April 2, 2020
CONTACT: Planned Parenthood Votes Media Office; 212-261-4433; [email protected]
Planned Parenthood Votes Pressroom

As nearly 10 million Americans file for unemployment insurance and at least 100,000 are projected to die from COVID-19, McConnell & Senate Republicans like Cory Gardner can't wait to confirm more Trump judges

Washington, DC  The human cost of the COVID-19 pandemic to the United States became starker this week as the Trump administration released projections that at least 100,000 Americans will die from the virus and nearly 10 million people filed for unemployment insurance. In the face of these staggering numbers, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and his colleagues have demanded Congress "stand down" on passing another coronavirus rescue bill — but he can't wait to confirm as many of Trump's judicial nominees as possible.

As the Trump administration continues to mismanage their response to the outbreak — including a recent refusal to open a special enrollment period in the ACA marketplace — it is unconscionable that McConnell and other Republican senators are focusing their efforts not on providing relief to the American people, but on attacking health care by packing the courts with Trump's judicial nominees, like Cory Wilson, and sneaking anti-abortion language into federal stimulus bills. In the middle of a public health crisis, Sen. Cory Gardner also urged the importance of packing the courts with Trump-appointed judges, "prioritizing the confirmation of Trump’s nominees over all other Senate business," in the words of the Colorado Times Recorder.

Statement from Jenny Lawson, executive director of Planned Parenthood Votes:

“If you listen to Mitch McConnell, you’d think appointing judges would solve our massive health, economic and voting crises. Instead of working to provide the needed health and economic rescue our health care workers and families desperately need right now, McConnell and his allies are more concerned with packing the courts with anti-health judges and attacking reproductive rights. As this crisis gets worse, these misplaced priorities are not just dangerous, they are a dereliction of duty the American people will not soon forget.”

Senate Republicans have already rammed through nearly 200 judicial nominees during Trump's presidency, many of whom have records hostile toward access to health care, including reproductive health. Read more about how Senate incumbents up for re-election this November are prioritizing packing the courts over providing pandemic relief:

Washington Post: Pelosi should ‘stand down’ on passing another rescue bill in House, McConnell says

  • "... Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he would move slowly on considering any follow-up legislation and would ignore the latest efforts by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to jump-start talks."
  • "In the interview, McConnell also defended his claim Tuesday that the House impeachment of Trump and the Senate trial in January 'diverted the attention of the government' in its response to the novel coronavirus."
  • "As congressional leaders deliberate, McConnell said he plans to keep working to confirm as many judicial nominees as possible once the Senate returns to Washington."

POLITICO: Republicans reject Pelosi's rapid push for next rescue package

  • "While Pelosi pressed yet again on Wednesday for the potential House passage of another relief bill by the end of April — with a big boost for infrastructure — her GOP counterparts in the Senate say Congress needs to hit the pause button."
  • “'Before we jump into another massive bill, let’s take a deep breath,' added Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), who said Congress would 'probably' need to pass additional legislation and fix issues with the Phase Three bill at some point."
  • "When asked about Republican leaders’ wait-and-see approach on Phase Four, Pelosi pointed out that Republicans didn’t mind passing three bills in a single month in the early weeks of the crisis — and that the damage to the economy is likely to be severe even with the $2 trillion rescue measure."
  • "Despite the reluctance to immediately move to a Phase Four package, some Republicans acknowledge more action is likely even if it’s not what Pelosi is describing."

Colorado Times Recorder: Cory Gardner Warns If GOP Loses Senate, Schumer Will Block Trump’s Judges

  • "Republicans must not only retain the White House this fall, they must also hold the U.S. Senate, says Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO). If they don’t do both, he warns, even if President Trump is reelected, Chuck Schumer won’t approve any of Trump’s judges: 'he’ll block every single one of them.'"
  • "What is clear, however, Gardner has steadfastly supported his own caucus leader Mitch McConnell’s strategy of blocking judges under Obama, but prioritizing the confirmation of Trump’s nominees over all other Senate business."
  • "Gardner called for the Senate to refuse to confirm Obama’s choice to replace Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Merrick Garland, the same morning Obama announced Garland as the nominee. In explaining his decision not to meet with Garland, Gardner said the 'stakes were too high and the American people deserve a role in this process.'"
  • "Two years later, however, he met with and voted to confirm Brett Kavanaugh despite another looming election (the 2018 midterms) which would determine control of the U.S. Senate.


Planned Parenthood Votes is an independent expenditure political committee registered with the Federal Election Commission.