Senate Republicans are defending their delayed vote on Loretta Lynch's nomination for attorney general as a way to get all their questions answered, but Democrats charge the dragged-out process reveals a double standard — and political gamesmanship.
chairman Charles Grassley said Thursday a vote on Lynch will be held Feb. 26, after the congressional Presidents Day recess, asserting she hadn't given "very many responsive" answers to 221 pages of written questions.
"I know there’s a lot of pressure to answer these questions quickly, but that doesn’t excuse the incomplete answers," Grassley said, Politico reports.
"A nominee to be attorney general should take time to familiarize herself with the important issues the Department of Justice faces."
According to Politico, Louisiana Republican Sen. David Vitter said one of the reasons he asked for the nomination to be held over is because of new reports about the practices of the banking giant HSBC.
As a federal prosecutor in New York, Lynch helped secure a 2012 settlement with HSBC, and she wrote to the committee the bank could face more Justice Department action if it is found to have violated more laws, such as tax evasion.
For their part, Democrats accuse the GOP of holding up Lynch's confirmation as part of its broader opposition to President Barack Obama's immigration policies and issues involving outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder.
Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, the committee’s top Democrat, repeatedly said he believed Lynch was being held to a "double standard," noting the upper chamber confirmed George W. Bush administration nominee for Attorney General Michael Mukasey in 53 days.
"I guess, because she’s a woman, what I kind of object to is that she is singled out in what I hope would be some reciprocity," California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein said, Politico reports.
But Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, who supports Lynch's nomination, brushed aside the complaints, calling Grassley "one of the most fair people I know," Politico reports.
And Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn, who plans to opposed Lynch, called Democrats' grousing "a case of faux outrage if I ever saw one."
Lynch is widely expected to win approval from the committee and the full Senate to replace Holder and become the nation’s first black female attorney general.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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