As Loretta Lynch, President Barack Obama’s nominee to replace Eric Holder as Attorney General, languishes in Senate confirmation limbo, her supporters led by “Rev.” Al Sharpton have launched a “hunger strike” of sorts that will continue until she is confirmed by the Senate.
While experts disagree about how much weight Sharpton needs to loose, the do agree that he could be waiting weeks for his next Big Mac if the “Hunger Strike” is real and Republicans follow through on their threat to hold up Lynch’s confirmation until certain confirmation preconditions are met.
These preconditions include issues related to Lynch’s confirmation testimony, abortion funding language in a sex trafficking bill and President Obama’s end run around the Senate’s right to “advise and consent” on the Iran nuclear deal before it can take effect.
These are big issues that could add months to Lynch’s five month wait to become the nation’s top cop.
So says Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) who warned Wednesday that the Senate could bypass a sex trafficking bill and postpone a vote on Lynch’s nomination to free up time to review the Iran nuclear deal reported out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by a unanimous bipartisan vote on Tuesday. Cornyn told reporters that:
“Iran is a special case. So I’m not suggesting we hold up Iran for this”…“but I am suggesting we come back to it after Iran, particularly if [Democrats] want to release Eric Holder so they can let him make a lot of money in the private sector.”
The “Rev.” Al Sharpton is having none of it. In fact, he is so serious about standing on principal that he will abstain from food on “alternate days” until Lynch is confirmed to replace Eric Holder at the Justice Department.
Dubbed “Confirm Loretta Lynch Fast,” Sharpton’s stunt means to mirror the actions of true civil rights leaders that include Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi organizers said.
Sharpton said in a statement that:
“As long as the Senate refuses to take fifteen minutes to confirm someone for Attorney General that they have already confirmed twice for U.S. Attorney,” National Action Network and its allies “will do everything in our power to draw attention to this completely unfair and unnecessary delay to vote to confirm Loretta Lynch.”
National Action Network executive director Janaye Ingram, added:
“We stand with Loretta Lynch and are so in support of this cause that we are willing to sacrifice our daily meals to impress upon the U.S. Senate that it’s time to call a vote.”
Sharpton’s “every other day” hunger strike stunt is part of a wider campaign to “pressure” Republican leaders to send Lynch’s nomination to the floor for an up or down vote – a vote stuck in limbo since her confirmation was reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee in February.
There are other factors in play as well.
During her confirmation hearing, Lynch raised eyebrows when she said President Obama’s Executive Amnesty for illegal aliens was constitutionally sound… did not violate the separation of powers between the Executive and Legislative branches of government… and that she would support it at Attorney General.
Some Senators are also holding up a vote on Lynch because President Obama has said he will veto a bill to battle the scourge of sex trafficking if it excluded funding for abortion – language similar to the Hyde Amendment the prohibits the use of taxpayer dollars for abortion.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) repeated earlier this week that the Senate would not vote on Lynch until it resolves the abortion-funding dispute over the bill. McConnell said:
“Democrats couldn’t possibly justify voting for Hyde language in order to help doctors, as they did hours ago, but then look an abused victim in the eye and tell her she’s not worth it…” “All that’s needed now are a couple more Democrats willing to show the same level of compassion to enslaved victims they offered to doctors just a few hours ago (on an unrelated Medicare bill).”