Remember Mitch McConnell’s post-election promise that the GOP would end partisan gridlock and go about the business of governing? Here is what “governing” looks like under the GOP led congress.
Last September Attorney General Eric Holder announced his resignation. He agreed to stay on until his replacement was confirmed. Four months ago President Obama nominated the highly qualified Loretta Lynch to be the country’s new Attorney General. Ms. Lynch sailed through the confirmation hearings without a peep of objection or controversy. The only thing standing in her way was the formality of a confirmation vote by the Senate. That vote is still pending.
Because Mitch McConnell refuses to bring her confirmation to the floor for a vote.The Majority Leader has managed to bring several other matters to the floor while Ms. Lynch waits on the sideline, including the confirmation vote of the president’s candidate for Secretary of Defense, Ashton Carter. Mr. Carter was nominated for his post BEFORE Ms. Lynch was presented for hers. For some reason Senator McConnell decided to move Mr. Carter to the head of the line.
When pressed, Senator McConnell said: “We can’t pass the trafficking bill right now. And I wanted to hold the vote on the attorney general but if I can’t get this bill through then I’m going to have to delay the confirmation vote…We need to finish it. It’s on the floor now. Then we have the budget.”
The trafficking bill that McConnell is referring to is the Justice of Victims of Trafficking Act. The bill would increase penalties for sex and child labor smugglers. The bill passed through committee with bi-partisan support. But the Democrats blocked a vote on the bill when they discovered that Republicans had inserted ant-abortion language into the proposal. The language would effectively ban using tax payer money for abortion purposes under the newly formed Domestic Trafficking Fund.
McConnell blames the Democrats for holding up the trafficking bill and subsequently the attorney general confirmation vote. “We have to finish the human trafficking vote first. Then we’ll turn to the attorney general.” McConnell’s assertion that the confirmation vote cannot take place until the trafficking bill is resolved is simply not true. McConnell could have taken up Lynch’s confirmation vote on any number of occasions but he chose not to. He can pull the trafficking bill and return it to committee. He simply chooses not to.
Because McConnell is once again playing to the base. And there is nothing the GOP base wants more than to block anything this president wants to move forward.
The level of contempt and animosity that the far right has for this president has been well documented. While the president tops the list of left wing liberals that Republicans love to hate…Eric holder is a close second.
Eric Holder has taken on the mantle of the president’s proxy…willing walk go where the president cannot dare to tread. Holder has been blunt in discussing matters of race where the president must remain politically correct. Holder has openly expressed contempt for Republicans where the president must remain cool and polite. Whenever Holder has found himself testifying before a congressional committee he has made no attempt to hide his contempt for the Republicans questioning his activities. As Dara Lind wrote in “Vox”: “The man responsible for carrying out some of the Obama policies they hate most is also a personal proxy for the president…not just because they’re both black men, but because they are personal friends.”
Eric Holder wants out of Washington but has committed to stay until his replacement id confirmed. What better way to screw Eric Holder and roadblock one more piece of the president’s agenda than to slow walk Loretta Lynch’s confirmation.
Republicans could rid themselves of the one administration official that they despise more than any other save the president. They could rid themselves of the man who in their eyes embodies all that is wrong with the left wing government that is destroying the country. But in the convoluted world Republican Party politics, rather than send him packing they would keep him in office just to screw with his head and toss yet another roadblock in the president’s path.
This is what governing looks like in the GOP led congress.