As the fight over the confirmation of the new US attorney general continues, a group of civil rights groups are staging a hunger strike to pressure Republicans to act on US President Barack Obama’s nominee.
Last November, Obama nominated Loretta Lynch, a prominent federal prosecutor, to take over for the departing Eric Holder. But Republican senators have refused to move her confirmation ahead thanks to a brawl with the Democrats over a bill that has nothing to do with her.
As DC Dispatches has reported, Republicans are upset that the Democrats' legislators have blocked an anti-human trafficking bill over language on abortion to which Democrats object.
They filibustered the legislation essentially preventing it from getting passed and attempts to alter the language have, so far, failed.
This week, the Senate’s top Republican, majority leader Mitch McConnell, reiterated that Lynch’s nomination would not be settled until the “ridiculous fight” over the anti-trafficking bill is finished.
If confirmed, Lynch would be the first African-American woman ever to become the nation’s top law enforcement officer and civil rights groups believe she’s waited far too long to take over.
They are now increasing the pressure on legislators to get Lynch’s nomination through. At least two dozen leaders - and one Congresswoman - began a fast this week as part of a bigger campaign that includes confronting McConnell’s staff, and blitzing them with phone calls and emails.
Janaye Ingram, executive director of the National Action Network, is among those fasting. She says the delay over Lynch’s confirmation is an unwanted distraction at a time of great need.
Ingram says the US attorney general’s office is critical in keeping the peace, particularly in the wake of a number of shooting deaths of African-American men by white police officers.
She calls the delay “absolutely insane” and says she’ll be going without food every day the Senate is in session until Lynch is confirmed.
She blames partisanship on both sides for the delay, but says it is ultimately up to the Republican leader to end it.
“Mitch McConnell could call a vote at any time,” Ingram says.
Source: Al Jazeera