Congressional Black Caucus chairman G.K. Butterfield (D., N.C.) and his colleagues are targeting Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) with a racism accusation in order to punish him for delaying the confirmation vote of Loretta Lynch, President Obama’s nominee to succeed Attorney General Eric Holder.
“I think that the actions of Mitch McConnell are petty and mean-spirited because he is using the Lynch nomination as as a pawn in his political game with the white house,” said Representative Marcia Fudge (D., Ohio), a former head of the CBC, on a conference call with reporters and activists Tuesday.
McConnell is delaying Lynch’s confirmation vote in order to pressure Senate Democrats to drop their filibuster of a human trafficking bill.
When Butterfield was asked if he attributed the delay to racism, he had an activist on the call level the accusation.
“Had she been of a different hue, had she been of a different gender, I don’t think we would be having this conversation because history has already proven that confirmations has moven much quicker for those who did not look like her, who were not of her gender,” said Dr. Paulette Walker, president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Butterfield agreed that racism is a “major factor” in the delay, before adding a “grace note,” in his ironic phrasing.
“One need only look at the difference between the confirmation process of Ash carter to be secretary of defense and that of Loretta Lynch to be head of the Department of Justice,” he said. “Ash Carter was confirmed in literally just a matter of hours. Loretta Lynch was of course deleted for weeks and months at a time. Quite frankly, the issue speaks for itself with respect to the actions taken by members of the Senate.”
Most Republicans oppose Lynch because she refused to identify even a hypothetical limit to President Obama’s ability to claim that prosecutorial discretion allows him to stop enforcing laws (that’s the theory behind the executive orders he issued conferring the benefits of legal immigration on illegal immigrants).
McConnell wasn’t going to delay her confirmation vote on that basis, though. Instead, he made that move only when Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) tried to force Republicans to strip Hyde Amendment language out of a human trafficking bill even though he doesn’t have the votes to amend the bill. The Hyde Amendment language, which bans taxpayer funding of abortion. has been included in appropriations bills for decades.
Democrats are “hoping the race card trumps the abortion card,” as one GOP Senate aide puts it to National Review.
You can read more about McConnell’s latest fight with Reid on the home page.