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Senate Democrats to McConnell: Stop delaying Lynch confirmation

U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Loretta Lynch testifies during a confirmation hearing before Senate Judiciary Committee January 28, 2015 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

Alex Wong, Getty Images

All 46 Senate Democrats joined together Thursday to tell Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, to schedule a vote for the confirmation of Loretta Lynch as attorney general.

"As our nation's top law enforcement official, the Attorney General plays a pivotal role in administering our nation's laws and protecting our national security. This is why the Senate, regardless of the party in control, has historically given swift consideration to Attorney General nominees. We ask you to similarly consider Ms. Lynch's nomination without further delay," the senators write in a letter to McConnell.

President Obama nominated Lynch, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, to succeed Eric Holder at the helm of the Justice Department. The letter notes that 117 days have lapsed since then, making her the longest pending attorney general nominee in three decades.

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 12 to eight last week to confirm Lynch and send her nomination to the full Senate, though several of the committee's Republicans objected to her support for Mr. Obama's recent move to defer deportation for up to five million illegal immigrants.

"At the outset of this nomination process, I said that no Senator should vote to confirm anyone for this position--the top law enforcement job in America--who supported the president's unlawful actions. Congress must defend its constitutional role, which is clearly threatened," Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, said in a statement immediately after Lynch's hearing.

But Democrats say that's not a good enough reason to hold up her confirmation.

"Although a narrow minority of the Senate may want to use Ms. Lynch's floor vote to protest the immigration enforcement priorities announced last year by the Administration, there is simply no credible reason for further delay," they write. "Our nation faces daily threats to our national security and we cannot afford to wait any longer to confirm our nation's top law enforcement official."

The letter also says, "No one questions that Ms. Lynch is qualified and ready to serve," adding that she was unanimously confirmed for her current role in 2000 and 2010.

  • Rebecca Kaplan

    Rebecca Kaplan is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.