Senate Republicans have taken the nomination of the next U.S. attorney general hostage.
They abhor President Barack Obama's decision to allow 5 million immigrants here illegally to stay. But the GOP strategy of withholding homeland security funding after Feb. 27 to force him to relent isn't working. The GOP will soon have to bow to the reality that there's no upside in neutering the department working to keep us safe.
So, apparently following the lead of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and others, their new strategy is to stall the confirmation of Loretta Lynch for attorney general. Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee postponed a vote on her nomination Thursday for at least a week.
There's no good reason to oppose Lynch's confirmation. She's a top-flight nominee. The demands of her job as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, including Brooklyn and Queens, have given her invaluable experience confronting terrorism and racial issues in policing, two of the toughest challenges the next attorney general will face.
She has been confirmed twice in the past as U.S. attorney and has the bipartisan support needed for confirmation as attorney general. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said he will allow the full Senate to vote on her nomination once it clears the committee. And there's no love lost between Republicans and outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder, who will stay on until Lynch is confirmed.
But congressional Republicans are practiced at barreling into dead-ends. They shut down the government in 2013 to try to kill Obamacare, and had to back down. And they voted to fund the Department of Homeland Security only through Feb. 27, which drove them into this current cul-de-sac.
Lynch is a tough, accomplished career prosecutor who has brought more terrorists to justice than any other U.S. attorney. She is superbly qualified to be the next attorney general. The GOP should let her get on with it.