BY: JOHN PARKINSON, ABC NEWS
(WASHINGTON) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi paid tribute to the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Sunday, calling her a “powerful, brilliant brain on the court” in an appearance on ABC’s “This Week,” while refusing to take another impeachment inquiry off the table in order to block President Donald Trump’s upcoming nominee to the Supreme Court.
“We have our options. We have arrows in our quiver that I’m not about to discuss right now but the fact is we have a big challenge in our country. This president has threatened to not even accept the results of the election,” Pelosi told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos. “Our main goal would be to protect the integrity of the election as we protect the people from the coronavirus.”
Trump, who has pledged to nominate a woman, said at a campaign rally in North Carolina on Saturday that he will nominate Ginsburg’s replacement in the next week.
Pressed by Stephanopoulos that she’s “not ruling anything out,” Pelosi emphasized that the Constitution requires Congress “to use every arrow in our quiver.”
“We have a responsibility,” she said. “We take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. We have a responsibility to meet the needs of the American people.”
Pelosi, however, said Democrats would not use a continuing resolution to keep the government open before a potential shutdown Oct. 1 as leverage to try to slow down the impending nomination.
“None of us has any interest in shutting down government. That has such a harmful and painful impact on so many people in our country. So I would hope that we can just proceed with that,” Pelosi said. “We’re not going to be shutting down government. I do hope, though, that the focus on health care and what it means in terms of the courts will have public opinion be of such magnitude that the Republicans will finally, finally address the coronavirus crisis.”
The speaker demurred when challenged by Stephanopoulos about Democrats calling to expand the number of seats on the court if the Senate confirms Trump’s nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden is ultimately elected.
“Let’s just win the election,” Pelosi said. “Let’s hope that the president will see the light.”
Pelosi, who ordered flags to half-staff on Friday evening in honor of Ginsburg, urged people to turn out to vote this fall to defend the right to choose and health care — contending the fate of Obamacare as well as the country’s ability to end the pandemic hang in the balance.
“So the president is rushing to make some kind of a decision (on his nominee) because he — Nov. 10th is when the arguments begin on the Affordable Care Act,” Pelosi said. “He doesn’t want to crush the virus. He wants to crush the Affordable Care Act.”
As the country closes in on 200,000 deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic, the impasse continues over another phase of congressional aid. Pelosi told Stephanopoulos that Ginsburg “would want us to move forward to protect the people who are sick.”
“It’s really important for everyone to get out there and vote,” Pelosi said. “This is about the people. It’s about their health, their economic wellbeing, the health of our democracy. We have a great deal at stake here. I think we should be very calm. We should be inspired by Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She was brilliant. And she was and she was successful. And she did more for equality for women in our country than anyone that you can name.”
The House passed the Heroes Act on May 15, proposing $3.4 trillion in coronavirus relief. Senate Republicans have not acted on the measure, opting instead to craft a bill with targeted relief totaling $300 billion.
On Sept. 10, that bill failed to advance through a procedural vote in the Senate, continuing the stalemate while lawmakers turn their focus to a stop-gap funding bill needed to stave off a government shutdown at the end of the month. Pelosi has periodically negotiated with the administration, offering to decrease the relief package by $1 trillion if Republicans will increase their offer to more than $2 trillion, but Congress is unlikely to strike a deal prior to the Nov. 3 election.
Appropriators, however, are expected to put the final touches on a short-term funding bill as soon as Monday.
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