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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Column: Just shut up and confirm Loretta Lynch already

Congress: Enough with the showmanship. Republicans are mounting an opposition campaign against President Barack Obama’s highly-qualified attorney general nominee, Loretta Lynch, unless the Democrats agree to pass a bill targeting human trafficking — with an extremely controversial abortion amendment within it.

The irony is that neither Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, nor his Republican Senate caucus, wants the current attorney general, Eric Holder, to hold office any longer. Ousting Holder has been all but a dream until now. Yet, now they have the ability to get Holder out of office, and they are not taking it.

Lynch is a historic nominee to the seat of attorney general as the first African-American woman to be nominated.

“Lynch is both highly qualified and abundantly experienced to become the nation’s top law enforcement officer,” said Gregg Jarrett, a journalist with Fox News. “Indeed, she has more ‘legal chops’ than outgoing A.G. Eric Holder.”

If even conservatives can agree that Lynch is qualified to become attorney general, why are Senate conservatives damming up the legislative river it would take to get her confirmation?

The division of government is hindering a highly qualified woman from assuming a position in which she can potentially help millions of Americans. According to The New York Times, the Senate has delayed over 117 confirmations in the Obama era.

Congress is about compromise. There are a few ways for the confirmation to get through the Senate: a unanimous consent agreement of the Senate or a cloture vote. Unanimous consent is a process in which every Senator agrees to terms and conditions of Senate floor debates, whereas cloture ends a filibuster through a majority vote.

Both require the Republican majority to agree on the nomination. Both can also get the trafficking bill through Senate.

No matter what, the Senate could stop the Lynch nomination if it wanted to. Democrats hold 44 seats plus two Independents who caucus with them, while the Republicans have a clear majority with 56 seats.

To end a filibuster, the Senate Republicans need 60 votes to get cloture. According to Fox News, four Democrats joined in to vote for the trafficking bill, but the final vote was 55-43, five votes lower than the cloture requirement.

With 60 votes, the Republicans can have it all. The only reason McConnell even needs to hold the Lynch nomination hostage is because he does not wield the control of his own caucus. The trafficking bill only needs four Democrats to support it.

In all honesty, even if the Senate passed the trafficking bill — with strong abortion restrictions — Obama could still veto it.

On the same token, Senate Democrats are calling the delay of confirmation by Senate Republicans racism. Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, infamously said that “Loretta Lynch, the first African-American woman to be nominated to be attorney general, is asked to sit in the back of the bus when it comes to the Senate calendar.”

As Sen. John McCain eloquently stated on the Senate floor following these comments, “[these remarks are] beneath the decorum and dignity of the United States Senate.” Pushing against Lynch’s confirmation is not the Republican Caucus being racist; it is the Republican Caucus losing control.

But, it’s still posturing, and it is still wrong. Let’s face it; the U.S. is at a turning point in law enforcement. With the recent issues in Ferguson and New York City, it is more important than ever to have a highly qualified and successful attorney general both parties can work with.

Lynch is that woman. Enough with showmanship from both sides. Get Lynch confirmed, and compromise on bills. That’s what Congress is supposed to do.

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Maddy Bynes is a junior studying political science and history. Follow her on Twitter.

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