On Saturday President Obama delivered his weekly address and used his time to argue that the time had come for Congress to confirm his nominee, Loretta Lynch, to the position of Attorney General. That may prove easier said than done now that congressional republicans have begun to lock arms in their objection to her nomination.
First, the GOP is demanding (and rightly so, I believe) that the Democrats in Congress first vote to pass the Human-Trafficking bill that the liberals have recently stalled. Secondly, influential members of the GOP’s middle to left wings have begun to openly discuss their objections to Lynch’s nomination. Mostly they’ve fixated on her pronouncement that President Obama’s Executive Actions have all been legal and perfectly reasonable, which proves that she may not be the legal mind Democrats pretend that she is.
At this point, I’d bet that Lynch’s confirmation is a 50-50 prospect at best.
One of the most important positions in the President’s Cabinet – and to our national security, our law enforcement, and our criminal justice system – is Attorney General.
It has been more than four months since I nominated Loretta Lynch to serve as the next Attorney General of the United States. For 30 years, Loretta has distinguished herself as a tough, fair, and independent attorney. As the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, she successfully prosecuted the terrorists who plotted to bomb the Federal Reserve Bank and the New York City subway. She helped secure billions in settlements for people wronged by some of the world’s biggest banks. She’s been dogged in her pursuit of public corruption. She’s jailed some of New York’s most violent and notorious mobsters and gang members. And through it all, she’s worked closely with law enforcement and local communities to get the job done.
Still – it has been more than four months since I nominated Loretta Lynch to serve as Attorney General.
And this time, Republican leaders in Congress won’t even let her nomination come up for a vote. In fact, by Monday, Loretta will have been languishing on the Senate floor for longer than the seven previous Attorneys General combined. Let me say that again – she will have been waiting for a simple yes-or-no vote on the Senate floor for longer than the seven previous Attorneys General combined.
No one can claim she’s unqualified. No one’s saying she can’t do the job. Senators from both parties say they support her. This is purely about politics. First, Republicans held up her nomination because they were upset about the actions I took to make our broken immigration system smarter and fairer. Now they’re denying her a vote until they can figure out how to pass a bill on a completely unrelated issue. But they could bring her up for a yes-or-no vote at any time.
Republicans promised that Congress would function smoothly with them in charge. Here’s a chance for them to prove it. Congress should stop playing politics with law enforcement and national security. They should support good people in both parties who want to reform our criminal justice system. And that means they should end the longest confirmation process for an Attorney General in three decades, and give Loretta Lynch a vote.