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Obama Blasts Congressional Republicans For Holding Up Loretta Lynch Confirmation Vote

President Obama used his weekly address to hammer Mitch McConnell and congressional Republicans for playing politics by holding up Loretta Lynch’s confirmation vote to be next Attorney General.

Video:

The president said:

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.

In short, her qualifications are superb. That’s why, in the past, the Senate easily confirmed Loretta to lead one of the most prominent U.S. Attorney offices in the country – not once, but twice.

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 small 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.

President Obama was correct. Republicans could bring the Lynch nomination up for a confirmation vote at any time. There is absolutely nothing stopping them from voting to confirm the next Attorney General. The delay is strictly political. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants Democrats to help pass a human trafficking bill that contains unrelated language about abortion. McConnell is holding up the Lynch vote until he gets his way on the human trafficking bill.

The standoff has nothing to do with Lynch or her nomination. The Lynch confirmation is McConnell’s hostage. It only took a few months of failure as Majority Leader for McConnell to begin taking hostage. His promise of a more openly run Senate has been tossed aside.

McConnell’s decision to hold up the Lynch vote is another failed political gambit from the increasingly desperate Senate Majority Leader. Democrats are going to win this one. Sooner or later McConnell will cave, and President Obama will get his new Attorney General. Until McConnell caves, President Obama and the White House will continue to hammer the Majority Leader on an almost daily basis. The nation needs a new Attorney General more than Republicans need a political win.

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Jason Easley

Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements. Awards and  Professional Memberships Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association

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