Attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch will likely be confirmed — but it is shaping up to be a tight vote, according to reports.
Four Republicans have publicly signaled support for Lynch’s nomination. With all 46 votes from the Democratic caucus and if needed, a tie breaker from Vice President Joe Biden, that would allow Lynch to squeak by.
The Republicans who have offered support to date include three members of the Senate Judiciary Committee who voted yes in committee: Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Susan Collins (R-ME).
While Lynch is likely to be approved, the number Republican no votes are stacking up. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), for example, voiced his public opposition late last week.
At issue for many in the GOP is frustration over President Obama’s executive amnesty and Lynch’s support for the legal argument behind what Republicans see as an overreach by the executive.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has not said whether he would support Lynch’s nomination, but other members of the GOP leadership team have already said they vote no: Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO).
“I will oppose that nomination,” Cornyn explained in February. “While she has an impressive record as a United States attorney, as you know she will become the chief advocate for the president’s policies as attorney general. And her testimony, expressing support for the president’s unconstitutional executive action and her support for a number of the president’s other policies, make it impossible for me to vote for her nomination.”
While the Lynch nomination was expected to come to the floor this week, it may not. Democrats are imposing delays on a human trafficking bill because of their opposition to abortion restrictions in the legislation. So McConnell says the Lynch vote could be delayed further.
“We have to finish the human trafficking bill. The Loretta Lynch nomination comes next. And as soon as we finish the human trafficking bill, we will turn to the attorney general,” McConnell said Sunday on “State of the Union.”
He added that he thinks the Lynch nomination “nominee is suffering from the president’s actions.”
Democrats have come out swinging against McConnell’s delay, arguing that Lynch has waited long enough to be confirmed.
“No Attorney General nomination in our history has ever been met with a filibuster, and none in the last three decades have waited as long as Ms. Lynch for a confirmation vote,” Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) said in a statement. “The Senate can debate legislation and vote on nominations at the same time – and to say otherwise is merely a hollow excuse.”
A Politico report notes that the longer the nomination waits, the more likely it is that more Senate Republicans will move into the “no” column.