Loretta Lynch’s Attorney General nomination has been pending for nearly 23 weeks, creating unprecedented circumstances for a nominee who already enjoys majority support.
In an interview that will air tonight on The Rachel Maddow Show, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told Rachel that his patience is not only wearing thin, he’s weighing an unusual procedural move.
MADDOW: One thing that has not been done and is now approaching historic delay is the nomination of Loretta Lynch to be the next Attorney General of the United States. What is going on there and is she ever going to get a vote?REID: Now I want to say this to all your viewers, um, we’ve put up with this far too long and we’re going to need to have a vote on her very soon that’s created by Mitch McConnell or I’ll create one. 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.MADDOW: You have a way that you think you can force a vote even if McConnell will…REID: Absolutely we can force votes. If we don’t get something done soon I will force a vote.
Asked if there will be a trigger for such a move, the Minority Leader added, “I had a conversation today with a number of Republicans and told them really to get her done or I will make sure they will have an opportunity to vote against her.”
The procedural question is an important one. Lynch has been on the Senate’s executive calendar since February, and under current rules, that means the Minority Leader has the authority to move to proceed on her nomination.
There’s no guarantee of success. In fact, because it’s a procedural fight, there’s an expectation that Republicans, including those who support Lynch, would vote together, which would derail Reid’s gambit.
The fight, however, would increase the pressure on GOP lawmakers considerably.
A Reid aide confirmed to The Rachel Maddow Show this afternoon that the Minority Leader “definitely conveyed to top Republican leaders on the floor this morning that he would exercise his option to force a vote on Lynch if they did not get their act together and schedule a vote on her very, very soon.”
Soon after, GOP leaders delayed action on the pending human-trafficking bill – the legislation Republicans have tied to the Lynch nomination – which Reid’s staffer described as “a heck of a coincidence.”
Look for more on this and many more issues on tonight’s show.