Attorney General Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch, the federal prosecutor slated to succeed him, have been waiting for months to begin the next chapters of their lives. That wait just got longer now that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has decided to delay Lynch's confirmation until the Senate passes a human trafficking bill.
"I had hoped to turn to her next week, but if we can't finish the trafficking bill, she will be put off again," McConnell said on this week's State of the Union on CNN.
Once confirmed, Lynch will become the first African-American woman to serve as the U.S. Attorney General. But according to Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Republicans are "intent on making history for all the wrong reasons." Her nomination process is taking longer than it has for any other nominee for the same position in three decades, and the human trafficking bill is just another excuse to stall, Democrats argue.
“The Senate can debate legislation and vote on nominations at the same time — and to say otherwise is merely a hollow excuse. We did just that last Thursday, when we voted on four other executive nominations while we were on the human trafficking bill, and we will vote on two more executive nominations Monday evening," Leahy said in a statement. "The majority leader should add to Monday’s schedule a vote to confirm Loretta Lynch. Both she and the American people have waited long enough for the Senate to act.”
Making matters more complicated is the fact that Democrats are opposed to language in the legislation that prohibits victims of human trafficking from using restitution funds to pay for an abortion. Democrats on the committee, however, voted unanimously for the bill — a point that McConnell likes to point out.
Follow Joyce Jones on Twitter: @BETpolitichick.
BET Politics — Your source for the latest news, photos and videos illuminating key issues and personalities in African-American political life, plus commentary from some of our liveliest voices. Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
(Photo: Andrew Harnik for The Washington Post via Getty Images)