President Barack Obama on Friday slammed the Senate’s exhaustive process in confirming Loretta Lynch as attorney general as “embarrassing,” adding that it’s “gone too far.”
“Enough. Enough. Call Loretta Lynch for a vote. Get her confirmed. Put her in place, let her do her job,” Obama said passionately while fielding questions during a joint press conference with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.
The historic five-month delay to replace Attorney General Eric Holder has left the president and other political leaders increasingly frustrated.
And still, after 160 days, there is still no indication of when a vote could take place. An anti-human trafficking bill is the latest roadblock delaying the confirmation: Republicans say they won’t proceed until it’s passed; Democrats have taken a stand against anti-abortion provisions the bill contains.
On Thursday, Sen. Harry Reid during an interview with msnbc’s Rachel Maddow threatened to force a vote if one is not held soon.
“We’ve put up with this for too long. And we’re going to need to have a vote on her very soon that’s created by [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell, or I’ll create one,” Reid said. “I can still do that. I know parliamentary procedure around here and we’re going to put up with this for a little while longer but not much.”
If Reid follows through on his threat, there is still no guarantee that a vote would move forward, NBC’s Luke Russert reported Friday. A spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell – who has said the vote will happen as soon as the trafficking bill is settled – dismissed the warning, saying Reid “can’t force a vote” because he would need Republican support.
Earlier in the day, White House press spokesman Josh Earnest began swinging rhetorical punches at Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley who has had conflicting views on the Democrats’ nomination process, adding that ”being nice has gotten us a 160-day delay.”
Obama on Friday doubled down: “There are times where the dysfunction in the senate just goes too far – this is an example of it.”