Although President Obama nominated Loretta Lynch to succeed Eric Holder as attorney general in November, a Republican-dominated Senate has delayed confirming her for five months. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, announced Sunday on “Meet the Press” the delay was finally ending.
"I think there will be a vote soon ... within the next couple of weeks," Lee said.
President Obama Friday said there was "no reason" for delaying a vote on Lynch, adding to the chorus of those critical of what some have characterized as an "obstructionist" Senate.
“[She has] been sitting there for longer than the previous seven attorney general nominees combined. ... Nobody can describe a reason for it beyond political gamesmanship in the Senate on an issue that is completely unrelated to her,” Obama said, adding the delay was "embarrassing."
Activists associated with Al Sharpton's National Action Network threatened a hunger strike Wednesday unless Lynch's confirmation was hastened, and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid threatened Thursday to force a vote through parliamentary procedures.
“We’ve put up with this for too long," Reid told MSNBC. "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. 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," Reid said.
When "Meet the Press" asked what the "end game" was in delaying Lynch's nomination, Lee responded by criticizing "[w]hat Obama did with our immigration code back in November."
When asked if he thought the delay in the confirmation had been ridiculous, Lee doubled-down on his critique of Obama's immigration reform.
"I'm not going to say it's been ridiculous, but I do think it's ridiculous that the president rewrote the immigration code and hasn't provided a full legal explanation of what empowers him to do this," the Utah senator responded.
"There are a lot of concerns with Loretta Lynch," Lee said, when asked what Obama's immigration reform had to do with Lynch. "She refused to acknowledge that there were limits to prosecutorial discretion, limits that must be taken into account for example when you have a president effectively undoing a huge swath of federal law."
Lynch, 55, is currently the U.S. attorney in Brooklyn. If confirmed, Lynch would be the first African-American woman to head the Department of Justice as the nation’s top law enforcement official.