In the Senate so far this year, Minority Leader Harry Reid has been remarkably effective at keeping his troops in line.
For example, all 46 Democrats voted in lockstep to maintain a filibuster of a DHS spending bill that aimed to roll back President Obama’s executive amnesty. They eventually killed that measure. And, so far, they’ve all remained solid against a human trafficking bill that many had supported in committee.
But that wall may be about to crumble.
Loretta Lynch is President Obama’s nominee to replace Eric Holder as attorney general. Americans don’t especially want her to get the job; In a recent poll, only a third support her. Still, four Republican senators have said they’ll vote for Lynch. So if all 46 Democrats do, she’d be confirmed (assuming Vice President Joe Biden breaks the tie with a yes vote).
But one Democrat now says he’s on the fence. Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey told Politico: “I’ll decide that when she gets to the floor,” when he was asked whether he’d support Lynch.
Menendez has problems of his own. He faces federal indictment on corruption charges, and that could happen at any time. But he wouldn’t have to leave the Senate over an indictment.
The New Jersey Democrat has loudly disagreed with President Obama in recent months on two key foreign policy issues: Cuba and Iran. He may be the first senator to break from Harry Reid’s obstructionist wall, as well.