Sen. Dick Durbin, the number two Democrat in the Senate, accused Senate Republicans today of placing Loretta Lynch’s nomination to be Attorney General “in the back of the bus."
“Loretta Lynch, the first African-American woman nominated to be attorney general, is asked to sit in the back of the bus when it comes to the Senate calendar,” Durbin, of Illinois, said on the Senate floor this morning. “That is unfair. It is unjust. It is beneath the decorum and dignity of the United States Senate. This woman deserves fairness.”
Durbin called Lynch’s nomination a “civil rights milestone.”
President Obama nominated Lynch in November to lead the Department of Justice, but her confirmation has stalled in the Senate. Democrats have pointed out her confirmation process is the longest of any attorney general in recent history.
A Republican Senate aide called Durbin’s statement “irresponsible.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has delayed a confirmation vote on Lynch until the Senate passes an anti-human trafficking bill. Senate Democrats oppose the trafficking measure because it includes a provision that places a restriction on funds for abortions.
“The Lynch nomination is next on the schedule. The only thing holding up that vote is the Democrats’ filibuster of a bill that would help prevent kids from being sold into sex slavery. The sooner they allow the Senate to pass that bipartisan bill, the sooner the Senate can move to the Lynch nomination,” Don Stewart, spokesman for McConnell, said today.
“I can’t decide which is more shameless: Sen. Durbin filibustering a sex trafficking bill he cosponsors at the behest of the abortion lobby, or him injecting race into the debate to distract from it,” another Senate Republican aide said.