WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today U.S. Senator Cory Booker delivered opening remarks on day one of the Senate Judiciary Committee nomination hearing for Judge Amy Coney Barrett to serve as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court. Booker made clear what is at stake if Judge Barrett is confirmed -- tens of millions of Americans losing access to affordable health coverage during a deadly pandemic if the Affordable Care Act is overturned. Booker also highlighted the threat that Judge Barrett’s nomination poses to reproductive rights and the future of Roe v Wade.
On Republican attempts to overturn the Affordable Care Act with this nomination:
“You see, they tried in the Senate, they tried in the House, over 70 attempts to rip down the Affordable Care Act. But now Donald Trump has said he's going to do it through the courts by making the nomination we see here today. That's why we are here. The American people should know that that is what this is all about, rushing this nomination through to sit a Supreme Court justice in time to hear a case before the Supreme Court that will end the Affordable Care Act. We're here because in the middle of a deadly pandemic, in the middle of an ongoing election, Senate Republicans have found a nominee in Judge Barrett who they know will do what they couldn't do subvert the will of the American people and overturn the ACA and overturn Roe v. Wade.”
On what a future without the Affordable Care Act looks like:
“People like Merritt and Michele know what a future without the ACA looks like. It looks like 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions,from cancer survivors, to people with disabilities, being charged more or denied coverage completely. It looks like 20 million Americans losing their access to potentially life-saving care in the middle of a pandemic that's already killed over 214,000 Americans. In New Jersey, we've lost over 16,000 people to COVID-19, 595,000 people would lose their coverage without the ACA. For millions of Americans, a future without the ACA looks like being forced to sell your house if you can't afford your health care. It looks like not having access to a doctor when you're sick. It looks like having to choose between paying for groceries and paying formedicine.
On what a future without Roe v Wade looks like:
“Without Roe v. Wade, our country looks like people being denied the ability to make decisions about their own bodies, not just while they're pregnant but being stripped of the right to plan for their futures. It looks like women of color, low income women and women living in rural areas who can't just pack up and leave if abortion is restricted or criminalized where they live. It looks like them being left with no options. It looks like state laws proliferating throughout our country that seek to control and criminalize women. It looks like the government interfering with women making the most personal medical decisions. It looks like a country in which states may write laws that could subject women who have miscarriages to investigations to ensure that they didn’t have abortions.
On Republicans’ refusal to agree to mandatory testing and a comprehensive COVID-19 safety protocol for the hearings.
“I'm so glad, I'm really glad, that my colleagues who contracted COVID-19 at the Rose Garden super spreader event for Judge Barrett had access to the care that you and your families needed. That is right. This is a blessing. The problem is the people who will come through here today to wipe down the desks and empty the garbage, that will vacuum the floor, like people all over our country who are working today in factories,teaching children in schools, they don't have direct line to the nation's top health experts. They can't show up to work sick, and they might not have space to distance themselves at home to protect their families. We literally stopped the senate from functioning with the exception of this hearing. That's why we're here.”
On why this is not normal:
“It's not normal that Senate Republicans are rushing through a confirmation hearing, violating their own words, their own statements, betraying the trust of the American people and their colleagues, and failing to take in this hearing even the most basic safety protections to protect people around them all to ensure the tens of millions of people will lose their health care when we're seven months into one of the worst public health crises in the history of our country. It's not normal.
This is not normal, that millions of Americans like Michele and Merritt art are just scared of a deadly virus. They're scared of their fellow Americans who are sitting in this room right now.
They're scared that their government and their institutions will be manipulated by people who could not work through the democratic process to take away their health care and are trying an end run to achieve that. Nothing about this today is normal. This is not normal. What is going on in America today, in the midst of a deadly pandemic and an ongoing an election having a rushed Supreme Court nomination hearing is not normal and we cannot normalize it.”