The Senate will return to work Monday after a two week break that does not appear to have led to any progress toward confirming Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch.
By the time the Senate went away for Easter recess, Republicans had tried several times to force Democrats to accept anti-abortion language in a bill aimed at helping victims of human trafficking. Democrats blocked that bill several times, and said they would only allow it to move ahead if the anti-abortion language were dropped.
Republicans continue to say they won't allow a vote on Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch until another bill passes that includes anti-abortion language. Democrats have said the GOP is holding up Lynch for political reasons. AP Photo/John Minchillo
Republicans fought back by saying they wouldn't allow a vote on Lynch's nomination until the trafficking bill can move, and as of Friday, nothing seems to have changed.
"Members are continuing to work to find a way to overcome the Democrats' filibuster of a bipartisan bill that will help prevent women and children from being sold into sex slavery," one Senate GOP aide told TheBlaze Friday. "Once that bill's complete, the Lynch nomination is next."
If Democrats continue to oppose the bill, it could mean several more weeks of Lynch going nowhere in the Senate.
One possible way to end the fight is to rework the anti-abortion language, a possibility some Republicans hinted at in March. The language in question would prohibit a fund created by pooling fees from being used to support abortion services.
Democrats say that's different from language Congress has passed over the last several decades to prevent money appropriated by Congress from funding abortions. An agreement to turn the fee-based fund into a fund that's directly appropriated by Congress could be a way to let the bill move ahead, and then finally get to Lynch.
In the meantime, however, Lynch's frozen nomination has led to increased tensions between the two parties. In mid-March, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) accused Republicans of delaying a vote on Lynch because she's black.
Lynch is thought to have enough votes to be confirmed in the Senate if she can get a vote. With 46 Democrats, just five Republicans would be needed to confirm her.
Every week the Senate doesn't confirm Lynch is another week that Attorney General Eric Holder stays on the job. However, many Republicans are fine with that, and are worried that they might oppose Lynch even more than they oppose Holder.
That's because Lynch has already said on the record that she supports Obama's immigration move, and gave answers that some say indicate she believes the president has vast discretionary authority on a range of issues.