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March 28, 2015

Posts in "Nominations"

March 26, 2015

Loretta Lynch: From ‘Back of the Bus’ to ‘Sacrificial Lamb’

Jackson Lee, right, . (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Jackson Lee, far right, alleges Lynch’s race and sex have delayed a Senate vote. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Adopting rhetoric similar to Illinois Senator and Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin’s “back of the bus” comment that drew the ire of Republicans, about a dozen women congregated outside Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office Thursday to protest the delay on confirming Loretta Lynch.

The group, visiting Capitol Hill as part of the Black Women’s Roundtable 2015 National Women of Power Summit, allege Lynch’s race and sex impacted the Kentucky Republican’s timetable for voting on the nomination and used the upcoming Easter holiday to inject religion into their plea. Full story

March 24, 2015

Lynch’s Republican Backers Holding Firm

Lynch appears to have a narrow majority backing her nomination. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Lynch appears to have a narrow majority backing her nomination. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

GOP supporters of President Barack Obama’s pick to be the next attorney general are sticking by her, meaning Loretta Lynch is still on track for confirmation — if she can ever get a vote.

That’s even as announced Republican opposition to Lynch continues to mount with the nomination sitting on the Senate calendar, effectively held hostage as part of the dispute between the parties about abortion-related language contained in a bill designed to combat human trafficking.

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., became the latest Tuesday morning to join the list of lawmakers opposing Lynch.

Full story

March 18, 2015

Democrats Blast ‘Back of the Bus’ Status for Loretta Lynch (Video) (Updated)

Updated 5:58 p.m. | A top Senate Democrat has accused the GOP forcing Loretta Lynch to “sit in the back of the bus” by delaying the vote on her confirmation.

“The fact is, there is no substantive reason to stop this nomination,” Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., said in a Wednesday morning floor speech blasting Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for prioritizing pending anti-human trafficking legislation. Full story

By Hannah Hess Posted at 11:11 a.m.
Democrats, Nominations

March 15, 2015

A New Delay for Loretta Lynch? (Video)

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday that he doesn’t plan on turning the Senate’s attention to the confirmation of Loretta Lynch as attorney general until resolving a stalemate over anti-human trafficking legislation.

The human trafficking debate was supposed to be the bipartisan one, with the bill having already won unanimous support in the Judiciary Committee, but it has since been beguiled by a fight over whether to apply language barring the use of funds for abortion.

“I had hoped to turn to her next week, but if we can’t finish the trafficking bill, she will be put off again,” McConnell said of the Lynch nomination on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Full story

March 5, 2015

Senate Democrats Press McConnell to Schedule Lynch Confirmation Vote (Updated)

RY 28: U.S. Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch testifies during her confirmation hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call) Copyright © 2015 CQ-Roll Call, Inc.

Democrats are ramping up pressure in the Senate to approve Lynch. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 1:23 p.m. | Frustrated with the pace of Loretta Lynch’s confirmation process, Senate Democrats are ramping up pressure on Republicans to schedule floor consideration of the president’s pick to replace outgoing Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.

They are circulating a letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., saying the nomination of the Brooklyn-based U.S. attorney to be the nation’s chief law enforcement officer has already been pending for 117 days and it should be called up swiftly. Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., told reporters that the entire Democratic caucus had signed on.

Full story

February 26, 2015

3 Republicans Defy Ted Cruz, Back Loretta Lynch (Updated)

Ted Cruz

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 1:36 p.m. | It’s starting to look like yet another loss under the Dome for Ted Cruz.

The Texas firebrand’s fellow Republicans aren’t on board with his plan to block Loretta Lynch’s nomination to be attorney general.

The Senate Judiciary Committee backed the Lynch nomination, 12-8, Thursday with the help of three Republicans — Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Jeff Flake of Arizona. Full story

February 4, 2015

Watch Live: Defense Secretary Nominee Ash Carter Confirmation Hearing

Ashton B. Carter, President Barack Obama’s pick to head the Department of Defense, testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee. The hearing begins at 9:30 a.m.

The 114th: CQ Roll Call’s Guide to the New Congress

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January 28, 2015

Cruz Says Fate of ‘Dangerous’ Lynch Up to McConnell

Cruz called Lynch's views "dangerous." (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Cruz called Lynch’s views “dangerous.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Ted Cruz called attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch’s immigration views “dangerous” Wednesday and questioned whether Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., should even have the chamber consider her nomination.

“That is the decision the majority leader is going to have to make. I believe we should use every constitutional tool available to stop the president’s unconstitutional executive action. That’s what Republicans, Republican candidates all over the country said over and over again last year,” the Texas Republican said in a brief interview with CQ Roll Call as the daylong Judiciary Committee hearing on Lynch’s nomination neared conclusion.

Full story

Lynch to Say She Wants Better Relations With Congress

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Lynch met with Leahy in December. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

When attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch takes the hot seat Wednesday morning, she’s planning to tell senators that she’s aiming for better relations with the legislative branch.

“I look forward to fostering a new and improved relationship with this Committee, the United States Senate, and the entire United States Congress – a relationship based on mutual respect and Constitutional balance,” Lynch is expected to say, according to prepared remarks. “Ultimately, I know we all share the same goal and commitment: to protect and serve the American people.”

Full story

December 30, 2014

Georgia Senators: Obama Won’t Renominate Michael Boggs

Michael Boggs

Chambliss and Isakson said Obama will not be renominating Boggs. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The controversial nomination of Michael P. Boggs to be a federal judge in Georgia is officially kaput.

Sens. Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss, the two Republican senators from the Peach State, said in a statement issued late Tuesday that they learned more than a month ago that Boggs’ name would not be submitted again at the start of the 114th Congress for a still-vacant seat on the federal bench. Full story

December 19, 2014

How the Nuclear Option Changed the Judiciary

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

For Sen. Harry Reid, going “nuclear” set the groundwork for his last great act of the 113th Congress.

A little more than a year after Senate Democrats deployed the “nuclear option” to effectively change the Senate rules on nominations with a simple majority, Democrats up and down Pennsylvania Avenue generally seem happy with the changes, even as the Senate shifts to Republican control for 2015.

White House Counsel Neil Eggleston on Wednesday highlighted the 134 judges confirmed in the 113th Congress alone, saying that was 44 percent of the total confirmed during President Barack Obama’s tenure. That number included 132 federal district and circuit judges, according to Senate Democrats.

Full story

December 15, 2014

Kirk Backs Murthy, Defies NRA

Kirk defied the NRA to help confirm Vivek Murthy as the surgeon general. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Kirk defied the NRA to help confirm a surgeon general. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Mark S. Kirk, R-Ill., defied the National Rifle Association to confirm Vivek Murthy as surgeon general.

The Murthy confirmation was delayed for months due to opposition by the NRA and most Republicans, primarily over his support for gun control measures. But Kirk’s vote helped put him over the top with a 51 to 43 vote Monday.

Full story

From New Committee Seat, David Vitter Seeks to Stop AG Nomination

David Vitter

Vitter is seeking to stop Obama’s attorney general nomination. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

One of the new Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee says next year’s Senate should block President Barack Obama’s attorney general nominee.

Louisiana Sen. David Vitter is trying to stop the nomination of Loretta Lynch, the current U.S. Attorney based in Brooklyn, over Obama’s recent executive action on immigration. Full story

December 13, 2014

Senate Avoids Shutdown, Passes Cromnibus in Bipartisan Vote

Reid, left, and Mitch McConnell, are tested as the government gets closer to shutting down. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Reid, left, and Mitch McConnell, are tested as the government gets closer to shutting down. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 11:26 p.m. | The Senate has avoided a government shutdown, easily clearing the $1.1 trillion “cromnibus” funding the government through September.

The government was scheduled to shut down at midnight Saturday, but the Senate first cleared a four-day stopgap measure by voice vote and later reached a deal to clear the cromnibus after lawmakers in both parties sparred over who was to blame for the impending shutdown theatrics.

The final vote was 56-40 in an extremely bipartisan vote, with 21 Democrats, 18 Republicans and independent Bernard Sanders of Vermont voting no.

Republican no votes: Bob Corker of Tennessee; Michael D. Crapo of Idaho; Ted Cruz of Texas; Jeff Flake of Arizona; Charles E. Grassley of Iowa; Dean Heller of Nevada, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Mike Lee of Utah; John McCain of Arizona; Jerry Moran of Kansas; Rand Paul of Kentucky; Rob Portman of Ohio; Jim Risch of Idaho; Marco Rubio of Florida; Tim Scott of South Carolina; Jeff Sessions of Alabama; Richard C. Shelby of Alabama; and David Vitter of Louisiana.

Democratic no votes: Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut; Cory Booker of New Jersey; Barbara Boxer of California; Sherrod Brown of Ohio; Maria Cantwell of Washington; Al Franken of Minnesota; Kirsten Gillibrand of New York; Tom Harkin of Iowa; Mazie K. Hirono of Hawaii; Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota; Carl Levin of Michigan; Joe Manchin III of West Virginia; Ed Markey of Massachusetts; Claire McCaskill of Missouri; Robert Menendez of New Jersey; Jeff Merkley of Oregon; Jack Reed of Rhode Island; Tester of Montana; Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Ron Wyden of Oregon.

In the key vote earlier Saturday night, the Senate easily cleared the 60-vote threshold to stop a filibuster attempt, 77-19. Thirteen Republicans, five Democrats and Sen. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., voted to filibuster the bill.

The Senate then thumped an effort by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, to raise a point of order over the issue of the President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration. Cruz’s effort failed on a similarly lopsided 22-74 vote. 

The Senate had been stuck in the midst of numerous procedural votes on nominations — with a weekend session forced by conservatives against the wishes of many in their own party. Full story

December 10, 2014

Senate GOP Wrestles With Whether to Undo the Nuclear Option

Graham wants Republicans to defuse the nuclear option. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Graham wants Republicans to defuse the nuclear option and return the 60-vote threshold on nominations. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

After crying foul when Democrats used the nuclear option to essentially eliminate the filibuster for most nominations, Senate Republicans are wrestling with whether to change it back.

Republicans, who will take over the majority next Congress, met Tuesday evening to discuss the matter, but reached no decision on a course of action. Full story

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