Mr. REID. Mr. President, it has been 164 days--164 very long, long days, especially for a woman by the name of Loretta Lynch. Her nomination is languishing here in the Republican limbo that they have created. For 6 months Senate Republicans have looked for any and every reason to push back confirmation of this good woman to be Attorney General.
Does anyone know why? Can a single Republican Senator tell us why? The answer is no. Her qualifications are impeccable. She has some bipartisan support. But again, for unknown reasons, Republican support seems to be disappearing. Is there a single Republican Senator who can come here to the Senate floor and give an explanation that does not absolutely smack of political foolishness?
Republicans do not know why Loretta Lynch has not yet been confirmed--just listen to what Congressman Peter King said. By the way, Peter King is a Republican from New York.
All you've heard from our party for a very long time is how much contempt they have for Holder. Now they're presented with Loretta Lynch, who is by far the best attorney general they could ever have expected this President to appoint, and they still hold the thing up. ..... And for what? Because they think it scores them a few political points? With whom?
That is the irony of it all. Republicans have held Ms. Lynch's nomination hostage for nothing more than political purposes. Here is something I will read to the people within the sound of my voice, which is a direct quote from the New York Daily News editorial.
The Republicans in the Senate, the meanest and most narrow-minded among them occasionally acting as if they want the Democrats to have the White House into the next century, need to free Loretta Lynch this week.
They need to stop using abortion language in an anti-trafficking bill for cover, they need to stop using Lynch's support for President Obama on immigration as cover, they need to stop insulting Lynch the way they have for months as they have delayed a vote on confirming her as our next attorney general for the simple reason that they can.
The issue here was never Loretta Lynch's policies, always about President Obama's. They have used her to get at him, because to the end they remain obsessed with getting at him. No wonder Jeb Bush stood up for Lynch in New Hampshire. Bush didn't just show grace in doing that, he also showed more common sense than his brother showed in eight years as President.
Jeb Bush has to know that Sen. Mitch McConnell hijacking this process does him absolutely no good, the way it does him no good to have McConnell as an important voice and face of the Republican Party. As long as McConnell is, too many voters completely wide-open about the upcoming Presidential campaign will continue to think the party is still owned and operated by scrubs who think they can push around Loretta Lynch for sport.
``Pushing around Loretta Lynch for sport'' is certainly how it seems. How else can you explain the Republicans changing the subject every time her name comes up? Every time Ms. Lynch's confirmation is discussed, they change the subject. Every time when asked, Republicans deflect: ``next Congress'' or ``after Keystone'' or ``after we try and shut down Homeland Security,'' and, of course, the newest, ``after trafficking.''
President Obama put it best last Friday when he said:
Nobody can describe a reason for it beyond political gamesmanship in the Senate. I have [Page: S2260]
to say that there are times where the dysfunction in the Senate just goes too far. This is an example of it.
He said: ``This is embarrassing.''
It is embarrassing. It is embarrassing for the Senate and for our Nation. Even Republicans--I should say some Republicans--are embarrassed. They know there is no rationale for delaying a vote for America's chief law enforcement officer. There is no reason that we cannot confirm Loretta Lynch today--right now, even. There is nothing preventing the majority leader from coming to the Senate floor immediately and moving the Senate into executive session for consideration of Ms. Lynch's nomination.
Why then is the majority leader determined to make her wait until after the trafficking legislation is approved? Why? We are now spending the first 2 weeks of this current work period finishing two matters--human trafficking and her nomination. These two matters could have been completed months ago. Everyone is aware of what has transpired with the human trafficking bill.
It is sufficient to say that Republicans tried to pull a fast one on the American people. Republicans attempted to broaden a precedent that traditionally prevents Federal funds for paying for abortion, except in cases of rape, incest, and when the life of the mother is at risk. This is commonly known as the Hyde language. The Hyde language has applied to taxpayer dollars. Republicans want to change that to apply to nontaxpayer dollars.
It was a failed political ploy, and it is no surprise, then, that the Republicans are scrambling to save their necks after trying to dupe American women. My Republican colleagues appear to be close to seeing the light on human trafficking, and there seems to be a path forward. But there is no guarantee that we can do it. As of right now, we do not have an agreement in place to put the finishing touches on our work on the bill. But we are working on that goal. The progress we have made is due
almost entirely to the good-faith efforts of Senators Murray, Leahy, and Amy Klobuchar.
When are Republicans going to see the light on Loretta Lynch? When will the majority leader realize he continues to obstruct a qualified nominee for absolutely no reason? The Senate should turn to a vote on Ms. Lynch's nomination immediately. Every day that passes without a newly confirmed Attorney General proves once and again that Republicans cannot lead and they certainly cannot govern.