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McConelll walks through the Senate subway on Oct. 1. Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced Saturday that he is postponing all floor activity through Oct. 19. However, hearings will still continue in a hybrid fashion, including the confirmation hearings for President Trump's Supreme court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, which are scheduled to begin on Oct. 12.

The bottom line: In the last 24 hours, three GOP senators have tested positive for the coronavirus bringing the Senate's Republican majority to 50-47. Despite their diagnoses, Senate GOP aides tell Axios that Republicans are still hoping to confirm Barrett before the election.

Between the lines: With the Senate out until 10/19, no stimulus can pass until 10/19 at the earliest, unless it is done via unanimous consent during a pro forma session.

  • However, McConnell did leave open the option to call senators back to Washington if votes need to occur, and said he will give them 24 hours notice if so (similar to the House).

How it works: The Judiciary committee needs 11 Republicans present at the committee's markup hearing to move Barrett's confirmation to the Senate floor.

  • Republicans are hoping that by the time a potential Barrett confirmation reaches the floor, senators who tested positive for the virus will be recovered and able to vote in person.

What he's saying: “On Monday, I intend to obtain a consent agreement for the Senate to meet in pro forma sessions for the next two weeks. Previously-scheduled floor activity will be rescheduled until after October 19th," McConnell said in a press release.

  • "The Senate Judiciary Committee will convene on October 12th as Chairman Graham has scheduled to begin confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court."

Of note: Two of the senators who tested positive for the virus — Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) — are on the Senate Judiciary committee.

  • But given the hybrid nature of the hearings (all Senate hearings have allowed for participants to attend either in person or virtually since May) Lee and Tillis can still participate from home.

Go deeper

Updated Jan 10, 2021 - Politics & Policy

GOP Sen. Toomey calls on Trump to resign: "It's the best path forward"

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) told CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday he believes President Trump should resign, following his comment to Fox News on Saturday that he believes the president "committed impeachable offenses" over his actions before, during and after Wednesday's deadly siege of the U.S. Capitol.

Why it matters: Toomey's comments come as some Republicans have signaled they may be open to the possibility of removing Trump from office over Wednesday's riot. He is the second Republican senator to call on Trump to resign, following Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

Mike Allen, author of AM
Jan 9, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Democrats to vote on Impeachment II early next week

Photo: CBS News

House Democrats plan to move on a second impeachment of Donald J. Trump as early as Monday — and on Wednesday at the latest, depending on member travel, Hill sources tell me.

The state of play: There's just one article in the four-page draft: "Incitement of Insurrection." More than half of House Democrats instantly signed on.

President Joe Biden vows to be "a president for all Americans"

Moments after taking the oath of office, President Joe Biden sought to soothe a nation riven by political divisions and a global pandemic, while warning that "we have far to go" to heal the country and defeat a "virus that silently stalks the the country."

Why it matters: From the same steps that a pro-Trump mob launched an assault on Congress two weeks earlier, the new president paid deference to the endurance of American political institutions.