NANCY Pelosi has said that Republicans are "coming after your children" by moving to fill the Supreme Court vacancy ahead of the presidential election.
The House Speaker said that another conservative on the court would help efforts to overturn the Affordable Care Act, and that healthcare would be the most important issue on the ballot in November.
The remarks follow the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, an associate justice from the liberal wing of the Supreme Court, on Friday.
Democrats argue that the Republican-held Senate should wait until after the election to vote on a replacement, as it did after the death of conservative Antonin Scalia nine months before the 2016 election.
But following the death, Senate Majority leader McConnell confirmed the Senate would vote to confirm a candidate justice to be picked by President Trump in the coming weeks.
Speaking to MSNBC on Monday, Pelosi said: "The reason the president and leader McConnell are moving forward so quickly is because they want to overturn the Affordable Care Act.
"No more having your children be on your policy until 26 years old.
"No more having Medicaid expanded to cover long-term healthcare and the needs of our children with pre-existing conditions.
"They're coming after your children. Protect your children from what they are trying to do in this court."
Introduced in 2010, the Affordable Care Act halved the number of Americans without healthcare coverage, and is viewed by both parties as a flagship policy of the Obama administration.
Among the act's provisions was a ban on insurers denying people coverage or charging higher premiums because of pre-existing conditions.
The last four years have seen a number of unsuccessful attempts by the Trump White House and Republican Party to overturn the act.
The nine-member Supreme Court often rules on some of the most contentious issues in US politics, and the chance to fill a vacancy is viewed as a significant opportunity to influence the country's laws.
In a statement released late on Friday, McConnell said: "Americans reelected our majority in 2016 and expanded it in 2018 because we pledged to work with President Trump and support his agenda, particularly his outstanding appointments to the federal judiciary.
"We will keep our promise."
In response, Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said: “The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice.
"Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president."
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