VIDEO: Udall Calls on Senate to Protect Health Care for New Mexicans, Native Americans and Vote Against Judge Barrett’s Confirmation to the Supreme Court
“This body has truly lost its way”
Senate Republicans rushing to confirm Judge Barrett just eight days before the conclusion of the presidential election to cement an extreme right-wing majority to strike down Affordable Care Act, instead of working on desperately-needed COVID-19 relief for the American people
Udall also sounds the alarm on Judge Barrett’s troubling record on peaceful transfer of power, climate change, Roe V. Wade
WASHINGTON—Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) spoke on the Senate floor, highlighting the stories of New Mexico seniors, frontline health care workers and Native communities in New Mexico and across the nation who rely on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for lifesaving access to health care, urging fellow senators to vote against the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill the seat of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Udall condemned Senate Republicans’ rush to cement an extreme right-wing majority on the Supreme Court and seat a nominee who threatens a woman’s fundamental right to make her own health care decisions, denies the existence of the human-caused climate crisis and declined to affirm the peaceful transfer of presidential power during the election.
The Senate Republican majority has rushed the confirmation of Judge Barrett as over 225,000 Americans and over 960 New Mexicans have lost their lives during the COVID-19 pandemic and tens of millions of Americans have already cast their ballots during the most important presidential election in recent history. Senate Republicans are ignoring the precedent they set in 2016 to confirm a new Supreme Court Justice during a presidential election year. The Senate has never confirmed a Supreme Court nominee this close to a presidential election.
“Millions of Americans are also looking around, asking how they can help their communities,” Udall said. “They are stepping up – whether it’s as members of the essential workforce, as health care workers, or by donating their time or resources to a charity or local food bank. We are seeing the best of this country.
“Here in the Senate, we too have the power to do something to help,” Udall continued. “But we aren’t gathered here by the Senate Majority Leader to do anything to help the American people…No, instead, we’re gathered here today to fast track the confirmation of a far-right judge onto the United States Supreme Court. In the middle of a pandemic. Eight days before the conclusion of a presidential election, with tens of millions of ballots already cast.
“It is shameful. This body has truly lost its way.”
Udall addressed the Trump administration and Senate Republicans’ motivations for rushing Judge Barrett’s confirmation process. “On November 10th, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a suit – brought by Republican Attorneys General and supported by the Trump Administration, to destroy the Affordable Care Act….The president openly admits he wants the Supreme Court to do what Republicans in Congress couldn’t, to demolish the ACA. ‘It’ll be so good if they end it,’ he said in an interview with 60 Minutes. And the president and Republicans in Congress don’t have any plan to replace what they want to destroy.”
Udall condemned the disproportionate harm that the Republican rush to repeal the ACA through the Supreme Court would cause to Native communities. “For Indian Country and Native Communities, ACA repeal would be absolutely devastating. I have heard firsthand accounts from Tribal leaders, Native families, and health care providers about how the ACA has improved the health care landscape across Indian Country – literally saving lives.”
Udall underscored Judge Barrett’s chilling refusal to condemn President Trump’s statement threatening the peaceful transition of power. “It has been shocking to watch as this President – aided and abetted by members of this very Senate – has been so overt about his desire: to put a judge on the Supreme Court who will rule in his favor in any disputed election.
“That’s a tactic of authoritarians—not a democracy,” Udall highlighted. “But in her confirmation hearing, Judge Barrett wouldn’t even comment on whether a president should commit to the peaceful transfer of power – as this president has refused to do.”
Udall also scrutinized Judge Barrett’s comments that ignore the reality of the current climate crisis. “Judge Barrett, again, wouldn’t even comment about whether she believes climate change is real. She again said that was a political controversy. The only place climate change is a political controversy is within the White House and within the Republican Party. And the rest of us are paying the price, while they decide whether or not to believe the overwhelming consensus of the scientific community – whether or not to believe their very eyes.”
Udall further defended a woman’s fundamental right to choose. “A leading advocate for women’s rights to reproductive health, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, would be replaced with a public advocate against Roe v. Wade….And after promising for years only to nominate judges who will overturn Roe, Senate Republicans suddenly are shy about it. They suddenly don’t have the courage of their convictions, and they won’t let the public in on their true, long-stated agenda: overturning Roe, once and for all.”
“Let’s not lose sight of the real people who will be affected by this Republican march to overload the court with loyalists,” Udall concluded. “With so much at stake, the American people deserve to have a say. It’s that simple."
The full text of Udall’s remarks can be found here.
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