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Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) speaking during a Judiciary Committee hearing in September. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) said in a statement Friday evening that he tested positive for the coronavirus, writing: "I’m following the recommendations of my doctor. Thankfully, I have no symptoms and feel well."

Why it matters: Tillis, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, was at the White House last Saturday to watch President Trump introduce federal appeals court Judge Amy Coney Barrett as the Supreme Court nominee to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Tillis also met with Barrett at the Capitol on Sept. 30.

What they're saying: "COVID is a very contagious virus. If you were exposed or start to display symptoms, please call your doctor, self-isolate, and get tested," Tillis said.

The big picture: Tillis is the second GOP senator and second member of the Senate Judiciary Committee who was in attendance at the nomination ceremony Saturday and later tested positive for the virus. Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) also tested positive on Friday.

  • Tillis is in the throes of a hotly contested race in North Carolina against Democrat Cal Cunningham. The candidates debated in-person Thursday night.
  • I'm wishing [Tillis] a quick recovery following his positive COVID-19 test, and am thinking of him and his family," Cunningham said, adding that he would get tested for the virus.

The senator is also facing a compressed timeline to fill the Supreme Court vacancy. Senate Republicans have said they intend to get Barrett on the Supreme Court by Election Day, though it is unclear how Tillis and Lee's diagnoses will affect the confirmation process.

  • Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer urged lawmakers to postpone Barrett's confirmation hearings, saying, "It is irresponsible and dangerous to move forward with a hearing, and there is absolutely no good reason to do so."
  • Republicans currently hold a 12-10 majority on the committee. Barrett's hearings are tentatively scheduled to begin Oct. 12, two Senate sources familiar with the plans told Axios last week.

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.

Tie-breaking vote a political challenge for Harris

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc./Getty Images

While Democrats relish Kamala Harris' power to cast tie-breaking Senate votes in their favor, it has the potential to define her as vice president — and as a possible 2024 presidential contender.

Why it matters: As Senate president and a 51st vote for Democrats, Harris faces the prospect of weighing in on specific bills she would have avoided after leaving Congress. Her domestic and international travel — a key perk for the vice presidency — also could be inhibited by the need to remain close to Washington.

Biden gets mixed grades on revolving door

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Biden is getting mixed marks for his reliance on industry insiders to staff his administration during its first 100 days.

Why it matters: Progressives have leaned on the new president to limit the revolving door between industry and government. A new report from the Revolving Door Project praises him on that front but highlights key hires it deems ethically questionable.