Democrats Fret as Lynch Nomination Languishes

NYT FDCarl Hulse March 5, 2015

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Good Thursday morning from Washington, where Hillary Rodham Clinton set the Internet aflutter with a late-night tweet saying that she wanted the public to see her emails and that she had asked the State Department to release them. The Supreme Court is again considering the future of the Affordable Care Act, and we look at whether this is the last hope for Republican dreams of dismantling the law. But first up, after months of limbo, Democrats are more than ready to get a move on with Loretta E. Lynch’s confirmation as attorney general.

Senate Democrats are increasingly alarmed about the fate of Ms. Lynch, with no announced plans for floor consideration of her nomination as attorney general and just the bare minimum number of Republicans necessary for confirmation expressing support for her.

Republicans say opposition to Ms. Lynch has grown since a January confirmation hearing where she defended President Obama’s actions on immigration, indicating that Republicans see a vote against her as a way to vent frustration over the president’s moves.

Senator Susan Collins of Maine intends to back Ms. Lynch, joining three other Republicans on the Judiciary Committee who supported her. If all 46 Democrats back her, that gives Ms. Lynch 50 votes, with Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. as a potential tiebreaker in her favor. Supporters of Ms. Lynch want a stronger showing and are holding out hope for backing from Republicans such as Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who said she remained undecided.

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, has given no indication of when he intends to bring the nomination to the floor, though his aides say she is assured of a vote at some point.

Hoping to spur action, Democrats are stepping up their push for a resolution on Ms. Lynch, who would be the nation’s first African-American, female attorney general. Senators Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont and Charles E. Schumer of New York are circulating a letter to Mr. McConnell saying that Democrats are “troubled that her nomination continues to languish.”

“There is simply no credible reason for further delay,” it says.