Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) says the Senate will not take up attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch’s confirmation until it completes work on a human trafficking bill that Democrats are holding up due to objections over abortion language in the legislation.
“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.”
McConnell had previously said that the Senate would take up the nomination this week, however complications with what was expected to be a bipartisan human trafficking bill, McConnell explained, have had an impact on timing.
“We need to finish that, so we have time to turn to the attorney general, because, the next week, we will be doing the budget, and two weeks — and the next two weeks after that, Congress is not in session,” he said.
A spokesman for Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) slammed McConnell for further delays to the Lynch nomination, arguing that Lynch has been waiting to be confirmed longer than any other attorney general nominee in 30 years.
“Senator McConnell should keep his word and bring Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch up for a vote this week,” Reid spokesman Adam Jentleson said in a statement. “By continuing to stall Lynch’s nomination Republicans are failing yet another basic test of their ability to govern. Lynch is extraordinarily qualified and there is no procedural excuse for further delay.”
He further reminded that the Lynch nomination could be considered “at any time.”
“There is nothing stopping the Senate from confirming Lynch and continuing to debate the trafficking bill this week, except Senator McConnell’s unwillingness to bring her nomination up for a vote,” he said.
McConnell has not publicly said whether he would vote for Lynch, saying Sunday he would reveal how he will vote at a later date. He further took issue with the idea that the Lynch nomination has been held up for a long time, arguing that the nomination was only taken up this year.
“The Democrat majority back in December had a chance to work on the nomination earlier, decided to delay it until this year,” he said. “The nomination is scheduled to be considered as soon as we finish the human trafficking bill. I think the attorney general nominee is suffering from the president’s actions. There’s no question about it.”
Other members of the Senate’s GOP leadership — Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) — have said they will be opposing Lynch’s nomination.
According to The Hill, Tuesday the Senate will hold a cloture vote on human trafficking bill.