WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) spoke at the Senate Judiciary Committee’s business meeting about the committee’s upcoming consideration of the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court and what this nomination could mean for the Affordable Care Act.

“The Trump administration is waging an attack against health care protections using every tool at its disposal… Just a week after the upcoming election, there will be an argument in front of the Supreme Court where the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act is at stake,” said Senator Coons. “The administration and this committee is rushing through a nominee in time to have that nominee seated for that argument. A nominee, President Trump has promised, will tear down a law that protects more than a hundred million Americans.”

On other priorities in the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Coons said, “There's so many other priorities we could be lending our time to today: fixing our broken immigration system, protecting our elections from ongoing foreign interference, or stopping our president from intentionally sowing doubt on the validity of our upcoming election.”

“We should be working together to improve our constituents’ lives and solve their problems. This nomination will do neither and we should not proceed,” Senator Coons concluded.

Full audio and video available here. His remarks, as delivered, are provided below. 

“Over a hundred million. Over a hundred million Americans have pre-existing conditions. Over a third of my own constituents in Delaware have pre-existing conditions, including many loved ones and family, folks in my immediate community, folks I’ve met up and down my home state. And as we know today, 7 million more Americans – because they've been sickened in this pandemic – have a new additional pre-existing condition. We are in the midst of a global public health crisis that has seen its – in many ways – worst response here in the United States. We’re in the midst of a pandemic crisis that the Trump administration has utterly mishandled and failed to decisively respond to. And today, instead of providing relief to millions desperately in need, we are rushing through a partisan confirmation process that will inflict division and possibly lasting harm on this institution, this Senate, on the Supreme Court of the United States and its legitimacy, and in our nation's ability to keep being a beacon of democracy to the world. 

“More importantly though than the harm to these institutions, is the harm confirming this nominee will do to our constituents. President Trump's made big promises. He's made lots of promises. But one he clearly intends to keep and fulfill is that he would only nominate to the Supreme Court a potential justice committed to repealing the Affordable Care Act. We should believe him. And in going through the record of the nominee, there's plenty of reason to believe that he has chosen successfully. 

“The Trump administration is waging an attack against health care protections using every tool at its disposal. First, they tried legislatively. Then, they tried administratively. Now, they're trying in the Court. Just a week after the upcoming election, there will be an argument in front of the Supreme Court where the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act is at stake. And the administration and this committee is rushing through a nominee in time to have that nominee seated for that argument. A nominee, President Trump has promised, will tear down a law that protects more than a hundred million Americans. 

“This coordinated attack on my constituents' health care is deeply disturbing. It's disturbing that stripping health care protections in the middle of a pandemic seems to be the highest priority here. It is deeply disturbing that this administration is working to tear down a law that protects against gender discrimination, that prevents insurance companies from charging women more for insurance just for being women, insurance companies which had previously treated pregnancy as a pre-existing condition. If we think about it, there is no more direct way to dishonor the legacy of Justice Ginsburg, who dedicated her life to fighting for gender equity and against discrimination on the basis of sex, than to intentionally tear down these last remaining protections that are critical to the architecture of the ACA. 

“There's so many other priorities we could be lending our time to today: fixing our broken immigration system, protecting our elections from ongoing foreign interference, or stopping our president from intentionally sowing doubt on the validity of our upcoming election.

“We have a president who has made every other priority secondary to packing the court with judicial nominees, many of whom including one before us today, who's been labeled as not qualified by the American Bar Association. This has become the new normal here. 

“Let me close by urging my colleagues not to move further down the slippery slope, but to refocus instead on the people we are called here to represent, to be working together on that next round of needed relief, to be working together to address issues long unaddressed here but which we could quickly move. We should be working together to improve our constituents’ lives and solve their problems. This nomination will do neither and we should not proceed.”

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