WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats pressed Republican leaders Thursday to schedule a vote on the president’s pick for attorney general.
President Barack Obama nominated Loretta Lynch in November. She now serves as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
A letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell signed by all Senate Democrats says Lynch’s nomination has been pending longer than any nominee for attorney general in the past three decades.
Some Republicans oppose her nomination because she supports Obama’s actions shielding millions of immigrants from deportation.
The Senate Judiciary Committee approved her nomination last week, with three Republicans joining all committee Democrats in voting “yes.”
If confirmed, Lynch would become the nation’s first black female attorney general. She would replace Eric Holder.
“Although a narrow minority of the Senate may want to use Ms. Lynch’s floor vote to protest the immigration enforcement priorities announced last year by the administration, there is simply no credible reason for further delay,” the Democratic senators wrote in their letter to McConnell. “Our nation faces daily threats to our national security, and we cannot afford to wait any longer to confirm our nation’s top law enforcement official.”
A spokesman for McConnell says the Republican leader has promised a vote on Lynch’s nomination, but he hasn’t said when. McConnell spokesman Don Stewart said Lynch’s nomination has been on the Senate calendar for only four days in which the Senate was in session.
Senators have already gone home for the week because of a snowstorm that has closed much of the nation’s capital.
Democrats could have pushed Lynch’s nomination through the Senate in December, when they still controlled the chamber. Instead they focused on approving the president’s judicial nominees, said Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee.
“The Republicans had wanted to block them all,” Leahy said of the judges. “Instead, we got them all through. I think that was a very good trade-off.”
Republicans took control of the Senate in January, following election victories in November.