CBSN

Top Republican: Senate to vote on Loretta Lynch soon

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

Mark Wilson, Getty Images

After more than five months awaiting confirmation, Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch may soon be up for a Senate vote to install her as the nation's highest law enforcement official, according to a top Republican senator.

"I think this is going to be resolved in the early part of this week," Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tennessee, said Sunday on CNN. "My sense is, over the next 48 to 72 hours, that is going to be resolved, and we will move on to this Iran issue."

Lynch, whose confirmation has been stalled for more than 50 days since she was approved through the Senate Judiciary Committee, has faced harsh criticism from Republicans because of her views on Obama's recent immigration executive action. A full Senate vote had been further delayed when Democratic legislators took issue with a GOP-backed anti-trafficking bill.

But the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chair is predicting movement on the vote soon.

"This logjam that you are talking about over this nominee likely will be worked out in the beginning part of this week once the human trafficking piece is worked out with it," Corker said.

Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Maryland, joined Corker on the Sunday show and confirmed the likely prospect of a vote on Obama's attorney general pick.

"There has been absolutely no reason about her qualifications that would prevent this nomination from going forward," said the ranking Senate Foreign Relations Democrat. "So, I am hopeful it will be up this week."

Separately, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, also expressed his hope for an imminent vote on Lynch, saying he thought the Senate would take on her confirmation in the "next few weeks."

"I'm certain that she is going to get a vote," Lee, who serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee, told NBC News on Sunday. "I think there will be a vote soon."

When pressed on if the vote delay was a reasonable move by the GOP, the Republican lawmaker defended the hold-up and brought Lynch's views on President Obama's immigration executive actions into the mix.

"I'm not going to say that it's ridiculous. I do think it's ridiculous that the president rewrote the immigration code and that he still hasn't provided a full legal explanation what empowers him to do this. And when you've got someone who has been nominated to fill the highest legal role in his administration, and that person doesn't come forward with an adequate legal explanation of either why the president was allowed to do this." Lee said. "The senate has responsibility to review those advising the president on legal matters."

The Utah Republican had voted against her confirmation when she was put up for a Judiciary Committee vote in February. Lee was joined by seven fellow GOP senators in his attempt to block Lynch, before the attorney general nominee ultimately passed through the committee.

The initial delays in the confirmation process have been the source of much White House frustration.

In last week's joint press conference with Italy's prime minister Matteo Renzi, President Obama chastised the Senate, calling the vote hold-up "crazy" and "embarrassing."

"There are times where the dysfunction in the Senate just goes too far. This is an example of it. It's gone too far. Enough," the president told reporters Friday. "This is embarrassing -- a process like this."

"What we still have is this crazy situation where a woman who everybody agrees is qualified[...], has been now sitting there for longer than the previous seven attorney generals combined," Mr. Obama said.