WASHINGTON – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office confirmed Monday the Senate has once again postponed the vote on Loretta Lynch’s nomination to be attorney general.
McConnell, R-Ky., said in a CNN interview Sunday he won’t hold a confirmation vote for Lynch before the Senate completes its work on a human-trafficking bill.
The majority leader’s continued efforts to delay the Lynch confirmation vote is widely viewed by Washington insiders as a Republican rebuke to President Obama’s controversial executive actions, including de facto amnesty for up to 5 million illegal aliens. Also, the Obama administration has refused to acknowledge a legitimate role for Senate consideration of any agreement Secretary of State John Kerry may conclude with Iran in the current round of negotiations in Geneva over Tehran’s nuclear program.
Last month, WND was the first to report the Lynch nomination stalled after Sen. David Vitter, R-La., a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, announced he was opening an investigation into Lynch’s role in allowing HSBC to avoid criminal prosecution.
Vitter decided to open the investigation after his staff quizzed John Cruz, a former HSBC employee-turned-whistleblower whose trove of original evidence of money laundering was reported first by WND.
On Monday morning, McConnell’s office announced the Senate would immediately take up consideration of the fiscal year 2016 budget resolution, Senate Concurrent Resolution 11. Fifty hours of debate have been scheduled, with a “vote-a-rama” on amendments likely to begin Thursday night and extend into Friday morning.
The announcement follows last week’s vote in which the Senate Budget Committee successfully reported out the 2016 budget resolution, making it likely the Senate will pass it.
McConnell scheduled the budget debate knowing the budget resolution is privileged according to Senate rules, meaning the majority leader can move to the discussion of Senate Concurrent Resolution 11 without displacing S. 178, the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act.
After the budget resolution is adopted, the trafficking resolution will remain as the pending business before the Senate.
Last Tuesday, the Senate fell short by four votes of the 60 needed to advance the trafficking act to final Senate passage. The 56-42 vote failed to get cloture, allowing the Democratic Party to continue a standoff on an abortion procedure led by Minority Leader Harry Reid that has kept the trafficking bill before the Senate, delaying a vote on Lynch’s confirmation.
Reid is seeking to block what is commonly known as the Hyde Amendment, a provision first enacted in 1976 to stop federal funding of abortions for Medicaid provisions that has been attached in various forms to a wide variety of bills for decades.
The Lynch nomination is currently hanging in the balance after Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., announced he would oppose it. McCain demanded that Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., apologize for telling media that the GOP is putting the Lynch nomination at the “back of the bus.” McCain interpreted the statement as a decision to “play the race” card to get Lynch confirmed as the first African-American female attorney general.
With only four Republicans in the Senate committed to joining the 46 Democratic senators pledged to vote for Lynch’s confirmation, continued delay gives McCain time to try to persuade Sen. Lindsey Graham, R.-S.C., to switch his vote to “no” and defeat Lynch’s nomination.
In bringing the 2016 budget resolution up for Senate debate, McConnell’s office stressed the following points about the budget:
- Balances in 10 years;
- Ensures flexibility for funding national defense;
- Provides for repeal of Obamacare and Replacement;
- Protects Americans from new tax hikes;
- Preserves Social Security;
- Extends Medicare Trust Fund solvency;
- Supports stronger economic growth;
- Enhances U.S. energy security
According to the Hill.com, the GOP budget plan advanced by McConnell in the Senate would balance the budget in a decade, cutting $5.1 trillion from spending. McConnell promised it “would leave Obamacare’s higher costs and broken promises where they belong – in the past.”
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