Dem: GOP puts attorney general nominee at 'back of the bus'

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The No. 2 Democrat in the Senate on Wednesday accused Republicans of making attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch "sit in the back of the bus."
 
Senate Minority Whip Dick DurbinDick DurbinDems press ITT Tech to give students right to sue Puerto Rico debt relief faces serious challenges in Senate Funding boost for TSA sails through committee MORE (D-Ill.) ripped Republicans for holding up a confirmation vote on Lynch, who would be the first black female attorney general. 
 
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"The Republican majority leader announced... 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," Durbin said. "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."  

Durbin was referencing Rosa Parks, an African-American civil rights activist who was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a bus.

The office of Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) pushed back, arguing Democrats could have made Lynch’s nomination a priority late last year when they still had the majority.

"The remarks made this morning by the Democratic leadership were misguided, shameful and, as their own record in the majority shows, hypocritical," Grassley’s office said in a statement.

A vote on Lynch could be delayed until April if it does not take place next week. The Senate is set to go on a two-week recess one week from Friday. 
 
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) says he won't bring Lynch's nomination up for a vote until Senate Democrats allow a vote on a stalled anti-trafficking bill. 
 
Democrats are blocking that legislation because it includes the Hyde Amendment, which blocks federal funding for abortion.

McConnell said Tuesday that Lynch will get a vote, it's just a matter of when the Senate passes the human trafficking bill. 

Durbin suggested that Republicans are using the vote to "target" Lynch.  

"Why has the Senate Republican leadership decided to target this good woman and to stop her from serving as the first African-American attorney general of the United States of America?" Durbin said. "There is no good reason."

With unanimous support from Democrats, Lynch would need four GOP votes to be confirmed. Republican Sens. Jeff Flake (Ariz.), Susan Collins (Maine), Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Orrin Hatch (Utah) have suggested they will back her.

Updated at 5:22 p.m.