Democrat Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois told fellow lawmakers Wednesday that delaying Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch's confirmation vote is like making her "sit in the back of the bus."
Standing in front of a sign saying, "Confirm Loretta Lynch" above a photo of Lynch herself, who currently serves as a U.S. attorney in New York, Durbin blasted the GOP's decision to push back the vote.
"The fact is, there is no substantive reason to stop this nomination," Durbin said. "The Republican Majority Leader [Mitch McConnell] announced over the weekend that he was going to hold this nomination of Loretta Lynch until the bill, which is pending before the Senate, passes — whenever that may be. And so, Loretta Lynch — the first African-American woman nominated to be attorney general — is asked to sit in the back of the bus when it comes to the Senate calendar.
"That is unfair. It's unjust. It is beneath the decorum and dignity of the United States Senate. This woman deserves fairness. She seeks to lead the Department of Justice, and the United States Senate should be just in its treatment of her nomination. To think that we would jeopardize her opportunity to serve this nation and to make history is fundamentally unfair. What's the issue? The issue is this bill."
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The bill Durbin was referring to is a piece of legislation dealing with human trafficking. Democrats are blocking it
because Republicans added a provision that blocks money in a victims' fund from being used for abortions in most cases. Democrats objected to that clause.
Over the weekend, McConnell said he wants to get the bill finished and off the Senate floor before proceeding
with Lynch's nomination vote.
"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."
On Tuesday, Democrat Rep. G.K. Butterfield, the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said race could be a factor
in the GOP's decision to hold off on Lynch's nomination vote. The Senate Judiciary Committee voted in favor of Lynch on Feb. 26.
"I think race certainly can be considered a major factor in the delay," Butterfield said.
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