2020 election updates: Senate debates Amy Coney Barrett confirmation; Trump casts 'very secure vote' for himself




2020 election updates: Senate debates Amy Coney Barrett confirmation; Trump casts \
2020 election updates: Senate debates Amy Coney Barrett confirmation; Trump casts \'very secure vote\' for himself  

The Senate convened Saturday for a rare weekend session to debate Judge Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court nomination as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell lined up a Monday confirmation vote over Democratic objections.

McConnell opened the session by responding to Democrats' arguments about the process.

"Judge Barrett's confirmation process has followed every rule," he said. "It's followed the Constitution in every respect. We have abided by the norms and traditions dictated by our history."

Democrats lack the votes to block her nomination and instead have voiced concerns over holding the confirmation process amid the COVID-19 pandemic and about the timing of the confirmation.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer responded to McConnell, denouncing Republicans' "shameful lockstep subservience to President Trump" and called Barrett's nomination process a "stain" on McConnell and on the Senate.

Democratic senators, attempting to slow Barrett's nomination, tried Saturday to force the Senate to consider COVID-19 relief legislation, a bill granting some undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship, and other legislation.

But they were blocked by Republicans.

"This isn't serious," said Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., after Schumer tried to bring up COVID-19 relief legislation, noting Schumer earlier in the week had tried to force the Senate to adjourn until after Election Day.

☕ The latest:

  • See why pundits and pollsters are starting to take a closer look at the U.S. Senate race in Mississippi.

  • Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, said Friday that Trump has not attended a coronavirus task force meeting in "several months" and the meetings themselves have greatly "diminished".

???? Ten days until Election Day, 88 days until Inauguration Day, 69 days left in 2020.

????️ Voting: See USA TODAY's Voter Guide for information on registering to vote, when your state begins voting and what the candidates think about the issues.

We will update this article throughout the day. You can follow all of USA TODAY's politics reporters on Twitter or subscribe to our daily On Politics newsletter.

Biden tells supporters he's 'not banning fracking' during Pa. Rally

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden clarified his position on fracking Saturday during a drive-in rally in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

"I'm not banning fracking in Pennsylvania or anywhere else," Biden told supporters in Bristol, a suburb of Philadelphia. "I can protect Pennsylvania jobs, period."

Biden's declaration comes after President Donald Trump accused Biden of wanting to ban fracking during the presidential debate on Thursday. Biden denied Trump's comments, saying that he never said he opposed fracking.

During his rally, Biden also mentioned that he misses up-close campaigning but doesn't want to have "superspreader" events, which seems to be a reference to Trump's campaign events.

"I don't like the idea of all this distance, but it's necessary," Biden said. "We don't want to become superspreaders."

- Sarah Elbeshbishi

Trump casts 'very secure vote' for himself in Florida

President Donald Trump took advantage of early voting while in Florida Saturday morning before taking off for a trio of campaign rallies in North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Trump cast his ballot at the West Palm Beach library near his private Mar-a-Lago club. The president told reporters after leaving the library it was "an honor" to be voting and that he cast a "very secure vote."

"I voted for a guy named Trump," he said.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the president used a paper ballot and no one was inside voting at the same time as Trump.

The president, who changed his official residency from New York to Florida earlier this year, cast absentee ballots in the March presidential primary and in the Aug. 18 primary election.

Trump told supporters at a campaign rally on Friday that he liked voting in-person.

"I'm old fashioned, I guess," he said.

Trump is staging a campaign rally spree in the final 10-day stretch of the election with six rallies planned over the next three days. The president will travel to Lumberton, North Carolina, Circleville, Ohio, and Waukesha, Wisconsin, on Saturday to deliver remarks despite warnings from health officials that such mass events are likely to add to the surge in coronavirus cases across the country.

Several states set records this week for COVID-19 cases and the U.S. recorded more than 71,000 new cases on Thursday for the first time since the end of July when cases were surging, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, cast their ballots Friday in Indianapolis. They used the absentee ballots they had requested in early September.

- Courtney Subramanian

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Senate debates Amy Coney Barrett to SCOTUS; Trump casts vote: updates

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