President Obama strongly criticized Senate Republicans for holding his Attorney General nominee “hostage” while waiting for Democrats to stop filibustering important human trafficking prevention legislation.
“You don’t hold attorney general nominees hostage for other issues,” Obama told The Huffington Post in an interview yesterday. “This is our top law enforcement office. Nobody denies that she’s well-qualified. We need to go ahead and get her done.”
McConnell has indicated that he will not allow a vote on Lynch until after the trafficking bill passes. Democrats say they are opposed to the legislation because it prevents federal funds from being used on abortions, although they voted for the measure in committee.
Some Democrats, including Sen. Dick Durbin, have suggested that Republicans are blocking Lynch because of her race. Obama did not follow suit.
“I don’t know about that,” the president said, according to the Huffington Post when asked about the racial angle.
“What I do know is that she is eminently qualified. Nobody denies it,” Obama said. “Even the Republicans acknowledge she’s been a great prosecutor. She has prosecuted terrorists in New York, she has gone after organized crime, she’s gone after public corruption. Her integrity is unimpeachable.”
Obama also used his weekend address to highlight Lynch’s confirmation.
“This is purely about politics,” he said. “First, Republicans held up her nomination because they were upset about the actions I took to make our broken immigration system smarter and fairer. Now they’re denying her a vote until they can figure out how to pass a bill on a completely unrelated issue. But they could bring her up for a yes-or-no vote at any time.”