“I am confident from my conversation with Loretta Lynch that she will be a valuable partner in confronting the gang violence that is robbing families of their children every day in Chicago,” Kirk said after meeting with Lynch. “We need the help of the Attorney General to fight gangs of national significance through federal law enforcement agencies and prosecutors, and to address organized crime like drug and child sex trafficking.”
The decision made Kirk the fifth Republican senator — along with every Democrat and independent — to back Lynch. The others are Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Susan Collins (R-ME).
McConnell has made clear he won’t bring up the nomination until Democrats agree to pass a stalled bill designed to combat sex trafficking, which they have repeatedly filibustered due to a provision that limits the ability of victims to use compensation funds for an abortion. Democrats say they’ll support the bill without that provision, but Republicans insist on keeping it in the legislation.
The battle got ugly when Democrats, after voting for the bill in committee, said they discoveredthe anti-abortion provision and accused the GOP of sneaking it in. Republicans fumed that the legislation had been public for weeks. Since then the two parties have been at an impasse that shows no signs of abating.
McConnell is holding firm on his proposition.
“Nothing new on that front,” McConnell spokesman Don Stewart said.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has demanded that McConnell bring up Lynch for a vote, arguing that her nomination has nothing to do with the debate about the trafficking bill and that she has been waiting for months.
Like the other Republicans who support Lynch, Kirk isn’t calling on McConnell to bring her up for a vote once Congress returns from Easter recess next week. When asked if Lynch should get a vote, a Kirk aide said the senator was “very impressed” with her but was “[n]ot sure on schedule.”
One of the ironies of the impasse: Attorney General Eric Holder, an object of deep scorn among Republicans, has signaled he’ll stay on until his successor is confirmed by the Senate.