Michigan Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow on Monday expressed skepticism that the Senate would vote this week on Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch, and called the holdup on her nomination “politics at its worst.”
“No more excuses. [The vote] shouldn’t be tied to anything — if anything, we need her expertise as we deal with human trafficking,” she said on CNN’s “This Hour.” “It makes no sense, and it’s politics at its worst.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has refused to bring Lynch up for a vote until Democrats drop their filibuster of an anti-human trafficking bill, which they’re opposing because of an amendment barring the bill from funding abortions.
Her nomination has been stalled longer than any attorney general pick since the Reagan administration, and Democrats have decried the delay as “embarrassing,” as President Barack Obama put it last week.
“Enough. Enough. Call Loretta Lynch for a vote, get her confirmed, let her do her job. This is embarrassing,” Obama told reporters during a joint White House press conference with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi
Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who plans to vote against Lynch’s confirmation, said he expects a vote “fairly soon” on her nomination.
McCain pushed back against the notion that Republicans’ five-month refusal to bring Lynch’s nomination up for a vote was a form of retribution against Democrats.
Sen. Bob Corker first told CNN’s Jim Sciutto on “State of the Union” this weekend that he expects a deal to quickly come together this week to clear both Lynch and the anti-human trafficking bill.
“My sense is, over the next 48 to 72 hours, that is going to be resolved, and we will move on to this Iran issue,” said Corker, a Tennessee Republican and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Asked about Corker’s comments, Stabenow said she had “confidence” in him and “hoped” he was right, but “we have to hear it from Mitch McConnell.” And while she was supportive of passing the anti-human trafficking bill, Stabenow criticized the abortion measure, lamenting that “it seems like there’s…always a curveball thrown in” when negotiating legislation.
She also argued that the two votes shouldn’t be connected, and there’s no reason to wait to confirm Lynch.
“The votes are there today for Loretta Lynch, and then we could continue on with other important issues,” she said.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid praised Jeb Bush on Monday for recently saying the Senate should vote on the Lynch nomination. But he also worked in a dig at Bush’s brother, President George W. Bush.
“No wonder Jeb Bush stood up for Lynch in New Hampshire,” Reid said on the Senate floor. “Bush didn’t just show grace in doing that, he also showed more common sense than his brother showed in eight years as president of the United States.”
CNN’s Eric Bradner contributed to this report.