Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said Tuesday race could be a factor in the Senate's delay in confirming Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch.
According to The Hill,
Butterfield made the remarks during a conference call with reporters.
"I think race certainly can be considered a major factor in the delay," Butterfield said.
President Barack Obama nominated Lynch in November to replace outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder. Lynch and Holder are both black, and if Lynch is confirmed she would be the first African-American woman to serve in the position.
On Feb. 26, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted in favor of Lynch to replace Holder, who announced his resignation in late September. He vowed to stay on the job until a successor is named.
Senate Republicans pulled no punches
in how they felt about Lynch, who they said would essentially carry on the same policies as Holder did.
Over the weekend, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced
the GOP-controlled Senate would postpone a confirmation vote regarding Lynch's nomination because of disagreements with Democrats over a human trafficking bill.
McConnell said the plan was to vote on Lynch's nomination this week, but first he would like to finish up the human trafficking bill that Democrats are blocking.
"This will have an impact of the timing of considering a new attorney general," McConnell said. "I had hoped to turn to her next week but if we can't finish the trafficking bill she will be put off again."
Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, said McConnell's decision to delay the vote was "petty and mean-spirited," on the Tuesday call with reporters, according to The Hill.
Added Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights President Wade Henderson, who organized the call: "We all know that senators can walk and chew gum at the same time. The Senate Republican majority is using every excuse it can find to delay or obstruct Lynch's confirmation."
The White House said Monday McConnell's "unconscionable delay" is a reflection on his leadership skills
as the new Majority Leader of the Senate body.
"You've got to hand it to Republicans, that they've taken even a measure as common sense as that and turned it into a partisan controversy," White House press secretary Josh Earnest said. "That is not a reflection of a flaw in the [human trafficking] bill. It's a reflection of inept leadership."
Republicans added a provision in the human trafficking legislation
that blocks money in a victims' fund from being used for abortions in most cases. Democrats objected to that clause.
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