Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell doesn’t have to bring U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch, President Barack Obama’s nominee to serve as the next Attorney General of the United States, up on the Senate floor for a vote next week—or ever—if he doesn’t want her confirmed. But he’s doing it anyway, even though just four Senate Republicans have said they’ll vote for her—and even their support for her is questionable at this point.
McConnell’s office has struggled to defend the Majority Leader’s decision—which flies in the face of a pre-election promise to not allow any attorney general nominee who supports Obama’s executive amnesty.
McConnell’s spokesman Don Stewart repeatedly refused to answer when Breitbart News asked him why the leader plans to bring Lynch’s nomination up for a floor vote next week. He also refused to state whether McConnell himself—even though he’s bringing up Lynch for a vote—will personally vote for Lynch, something that would be a direct violation of the pre-election promise McConnell made to voters.
“He’ll speak on her next week—assuming Dems end their filibuster of the anti-trafficking bill,” Stewart said, refusing to answer where the Majority Leader himself stands and why he’s even bringing her up for a vote when he doesn’t have to. “McConnell is the leader of a majority in the Senate,” Daniel Horowitz, the Conservative Review’s senior editor, told Breitbart News.
He could easily refuse to bring Lynch up for confirmation and actually stand for conservative values. However, McConnell always likes taking the path of least resistance. In this case, simply allowing Lynch to come for a vote, but personally opposing her, allows him to win the best of both worlds: avoid any confrontation with Obama but preserve his conservative bona fides.
McConnell could also undo the so-called “nuclear option”—where now Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, then the Majority Leader, in the last Congress changed U.S. Senate rules for nominees to require only a 51-vote threshold rather than a 60-vote threshold as was required for most of U.S. history, since the days of the Founding Fathers.
When Reid made the move to undo Senate rule precedent in late 2013, invoking the so-called “nuclear option,” McConnell went the Senate floor and made several eloquent speeches bombarding him for doing so. The thrust of McConnell’s argument was that Reid was doing it to distract the American people from the dangers and the harms of Obamacare that was unravelling before America’s eyes at the time.
But now, McConnell won’t undo the nuclear option—because doing so would require Republicans using the tactics of the Democrats to succeed, essentially fighting fire with fire, something McConnell doesn’t want to do.
“Undoing the nuclear option under the regular order would take 67 votes,” Stewart said. “No Dem supports and not all Republicans agree, which means the vote would be well short of 67. The only other way, even if all Republicans agreed, is to use the nuclear option to reverse the change made by the nuclear option. And as you noted below, Sen. McConnell has given numerous excellent floor speeches opposing the use of the nuclear option.”