Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch needs the support of just four Republicans to gain confirmation in the Senate, but many GOP lawmakers are starting to back away from her over concerns about her stance on immigration and a perceived lack of "independence" from the White House.
Only Sen. Orrin Hatch, of Utah, has hinted that he plans to vote for her, reports The Hill
, even though other Republicans have had positive things to say about her.
Lynch's confirmation proceedings were pushed back Thursday until after the 10-day congressional recess ends as Republicans are voicing some objections and Democrats are accusing them of delaying the proceedings.
"What we're trying to do is get an indication from her of the independence that she's going to have from the White House," Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, told The Hill.
"I think [Attorney General Eric] Holder is running the Justice Department like a wing of the White House. That's not right, and I want her to show us that she can be independent."
Last month, Lynch got a friendly reception from Republicans, some of whom believe she'll be a good replacement for Holder, whose relationship with Republicans was often contentious.
"Admittedly, a lot on my side have felt that they would like to get a new attorney general there, because they're not very happy with the current one, and this is one way that can happen," said Hatch, the Hill reports.
But there are some who say her stance on immigration is a deal-breaker, including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who said earlier this month he wants his party to use "every procedural tool,"
including blocking Lynch's nomination to "rein in the president's lawlessness" on executive amnesty.
"For several months now, I have called on the Senate majority leader to halt confirmations of every nominee executive and judicial, other than vital national security positions, unless or until the president rescinds his unconstitutional amnesty," Cruz said.
Meanwhile, many Republicans have said that Lynch's background as a New York federal prosecutor who is tough but fair on crime is impressive, and Democrats are calling Lynch the "perfect" nominee.
"This woman has as close to a perfect record as I have ever heard," California Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein said, the Hill reports.
And New York Democrat Sen. Charles Schumer said he does not understand why anybody would vote against her.
"Everyone was impressed with her," he said. "I heard that from numerous colleagues on the other side."
But Grassley said he decided to push his committee's vote to Feb. 26 to give Lynch more time to answer questions, especially on immigration. Republicans want her to come out against President Barack Obama's executive action on immigration, with Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions saying there may be a "slide in support" if that doesn't happen.
"I'm not going to vote for her, because I'm not going to vote for the chief law enforcement officer and rubber stamp this policy," Sessions told The Hill. "I know there are a considerable number of people that share my views."
Two other powerful Republicans, Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and John Cornyn, who is the second-ranking GOP senator, also plan to oppose Lynch.
And Sen. David Vitter, R-La., says he has strong reservations for another reason: as a federal prosecutor, she worked toward a deal for HSBC to pay a fine for funneling more than $200 million for Mexican drug cartels and terrorism. Vitter says he is disappointed the federal government did not seek criminal charges against the bank.
But Democrats say that Republicans are setting the bar too high for Lynch.
"Let's face it: There are some people here that will not vote for her unless she says what they want her to say, that the president committed an illegal act by these executive orders" [on immigration,] said Schumer. "It is not fair to hold her up, because you're never going to get her to say that answer, if that's what you're waiting for."
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