Ash Carter vs. Loretta Lynch: Why One Obama Nominee Sailed Through But the Other Is Stuck

Carter was confirmed in less than 70 days, while Lynch still awaits a vote.

Here’s a look at why Lynch’s nomination is tangled in the Senate while Carter swiftly gained confirmation:


First, Senate Democrats agreed to not process Lynch’s nomination, which was announced mere days after the GOP netted enough seats to win the majority, until the New Year when Republicans would take control.

Republicans are using Lynch’s confirmation as a tool to raise their displeasure with the president’s immigration plan. Lynch’s confirmation hearing, which was held over two weeks ago, focused less on her qualifications and more on where she stands on President Obama’s recent immigration actions. Senators grilled her on whether she thinks undocumented immigrants in the U.S. have a right to work or a right to citizenship.

Lynch told the committee she believes the administration’s executive actions are legal based on her review of an opinion from the Department of Justice analyzing whether the president has legal authority to take these actions.

Republicans also used the confirmation hearing to take aim at current Attorney General Holder, who has maintained a contentious relationship with congressional Republicans throughout his time leading the Department of Justice.

"No, I'm not," Lynch assured Cornyn with a smile. “I will be myself. I will be Loretta Lynch [if confirmed.]"


"He’s not controversial,” McCain told ABC News at the time. "He’s qualified and he’s the last man standing, but he’s been around long enough to know he will have little or no voice in the crucial decisions on national security.”

Carter’s confirmation also comes at a time when the U.S. military’s involvement abroad is a huge concern for Congress. During his confirmation hearing, senators questioned Carter on everything from providing lethal aid to the Ukrainian military to the president’s strategy on the war against ISIS.

Just this week, President Obama asked Congress to authorize the use of force against ISIS – a debate that will dominate Congress in the months to come.


Lynch’s nomination is currently pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee and is weeks away from even hitting the Senate floor for a full vote

Since the Senate will be on recess next week, the Senate Judiciary Committee won’t have the chance to vote on her nomination until the last week of February, meaning a vote on her nomination by the full Senate won’t occur until March.

ABC News' Mike Levine and Luis Martinez contributed to this report.

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