WASHINGTON, Oct 5 (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee announced on Monday that it would open a confirmation hearing for President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, on Oct. 12, ending speculation that an outbreak of COVID-19 might interfere with the schedule.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, the committee’s chairman, announced that the hearing would start at 9 a.m. EDT (1300 GMT) on Oct 12.
Opening the Senate on Monday, Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate would move “full steam ahead” to confirm Trump’s nominee. He said the hearing would be in a hybrid format - with some members connecting remotely - because of the coronavirus.
Two committee members, Republicans Thom Tillis and Mike Lee, have tested positive for COVID-19. Both were at the White House on Sept. 26 when Trump introduced Barrett as his nominee to replace Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died last month.
Other attendees at that event - many of whom did not wear protective face coverings - have also tested positive.
Trump was taken to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center near Washington on Friday hours after he announced he had been diagnosed with COVID-19. Trump was due to return to the White House on Monday.
McConnell also said the Senate would be in recess for at least two weeks. But he said the Barrett hearing would go ahead, as Republicans work to confirm her before Election Day on Nov. 3, when Trump hopes to be re-elected.
After McConnell spoke, Democratic Senator Tim Kaine said the Senate should be working on legislation to help Americans struggling with the coronavirus. Millions of Americans have lost their jobs and more than 200,000 have died due to the pandemic. (Reporting by Patricia Zengerle in Washington Editing by Matthew Lewis)
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