The White House vented its frustration over the nomination of Loretta Lynch on Tuesday after her confirmation vote hit another snag in the Senate.
The Senate earlier Tuesday failed to advance a stalled human trafficking bill due to Democratic objections to controversial abortion language. With that matter unresolved, a vote to confirm Lynch as attorney general could be delayed even further.
The White House said the Senate should act now, noting that it has been 129 days since Lynch was nominated. That is as long as the past five attorneys general nominees combined have waited for a confirmation vote, according to press secretary Josh Earnest.
“We believe Loretta Lynch should be confirmed in bipartisan fashion,” Earnest said. “She has already waited for far too long.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said that Lynch’s confirmation vote will be delayed until the Senate passes the human trafficking bill. The legislation fell five votes short of the 60 needed to break a Democratic filibuster on Tuesday.
Earnest reacted incredulously to comments from McConnell Tuesday morning that the White House has “barely lifted a finger” to help Republicans pass the legislation.
“I’m actually surprised that a seasoned, veteran leader of the United States Senate like Mitch McConnell would need the assistance of the president of the United States to pass a common-sense piece of legislation like a child sex trafficking bill,” Earnest told reporters.
It is not yet clear if Lynch will have enough votes to be confirmed once her nomination comes up. Four Republican senators have announced their support for Lynch, just enough for her to win confirmation if Vice President Biden breaks a tie in the Senate.
“If Ms. Lynch were not confirmed by the U.S. Senate, it would be an astonishing display of partisanship,” Earnest said.
For the second straight day, Earnest defended Lynch’s credentials as the former U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York and he said no lawmakers have questioned her qualifications for the post.
Many of Lynch’s Republican opponents have come out against her nomination due to President Obama’s executive actions on immigration.
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said in a statement Tuesday he is voting against Lynch “to express my disapproval of the president’s abuse of executive authority.”
Earnest criticized Alexander for “acknowledging that he is playing politics with the nation’s top law enforcement officer.”