Health care, abortion center stage in SCOTUS fight

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Democrats on Capitol Hill continue to sound the alarm over President Donald Trump’s conservative pick for the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that appointing Judge Amy Coney Barrett would be bad news for Americans reliant on the Affordable Care Act.

Republicans, meanwhile, are barreling ahead with the nomination. Senators have been meeting with Barrett ahead of confirmation hearings expected to start in less than two weeks. Democrats in the Senate have refused to meet with her in protest.

“This is a one-two punch to the American people,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Thursday, insisting Barrett is “intent on ripping (the ACA) apart.”

In an effort to split Republicans, Senate Democrats forced a vote on a bill to protect Americans with preexisting conditions despite the outcome a challenge to the ACA expected to go before the Supreme Court shortly after the election. The plan failed, through six Republicans voted with Democrats. They included Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa and moderate Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, both of whom are facing tough reelection races.

Democrats’ other major concern: abortion rights.

“Roe v. Wade, if Judge Barrett got on the court, could either be eliminated or at the very minimum, horrible minimum, so greatly constricted that you’d never recognize it,” Schumer said.

Republicans have dismissed Democrats’ claims.

“It’s a bogus issue. Nobody’s health care is being threatened by this Supreme Court,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said.

“I do hope that my friends from across the aisle will stop these unwarranted attacks based on faith,” Ernst said, referencing Barrett’s Catholicism.

Ernst extolled Barrett’s “extraordinary qualifications” when the two met Thursday.

Others from the GOP say Barrett’s views on abortion are exactly why they plan to vote to confirm her.

“I think the judge’s record as to her understanding of the judicial role and Roe and how Roe fits into that is pretty clear, it certainly meets my threshold,” Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., said during his meeting with Barrett.

Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., agreed Democrats’ concerns are overblown but said Congress still needs a backup plan.

“Make sure that if there is a decision that makes the conspiracy theories accurate, we ought to be able to come together in a bipartisan way to stop that implantation,” he said.

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