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Before SCOTUS Vote, Democrats Have Request for Pence

They want the VP to break custom and steer clear of the Senate because of COVID
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 26, 2020 8:48 AM CDT
Updated Oct 26, 2020 4:16 PM CDT

(Newser) – The presidency may be up in the air, but a different vote is sure to be a winner for Republicans: The Senate will vote Monday evening to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. CNBC reports that the vote is expected around 7;25pm ET. The outcome is not in doubt after Sunday's legislative action, though one aspect of the vote is: Will Mike Pence be there? By custom, vice presidents are present for landmark Senate votes because they function as the chamber's ceremonial leader and can break ties if necessary, notes the AP. But because no such tie-breaking will be required and because members of Pence's inner circle have just tested positive for COVID, Democrats have made an unusual request of Pence: Stay away.

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Attending would be "a violation of common decency and courtesy," Democrats wrote in a letter to the vice president. Aides initially said Pence planned to stay in Minnesota, where he held a campaign event Monday, but he later said he was going back to Washington on Air Force Two "in case they need my vote," CNN reports. Meanwhile, majority leader Mitch McConnell summed up the stakes of the vote itself in a quote now in wide circulation. "A lot of what we’ve done over the last four years will be un-done sooner or later by the next election," he said Sunday. "They won’t be able to do much about this for a long time to come." Susan Collins is the only Republican senator who plans to vote against Barrett's nomination because it comes so close to the election. (The GOP's Lisa Murkowski agrees in principle but will vote yes.)

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