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Harry Reid threatens to force a Senate vote on Loretta Lynch

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat from Nevada, pauses while speaking during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2014. (Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Thursday warned Republicans that if they don't hold a vote soon on Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch, he'll use a rare Senate procedure to force a vote on the long-stalled nominee.

"I had a conversation today with a number of Republicans and told them really to get her done or I will make sure they will have an opportunity to vote against her," Reid said in an interview on MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show that will air Thursday night.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat from Nevada, pauses while speaking during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2014. (Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images) Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he would soon try to force a vote on stalled Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch if Republicans dont bring up that vote soon. Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images

According to Reid's office, any senator is allowed to make a motion to proceed to any nomination that's sitting on the Senate's calendar. If Reid decides he's had enough of the stalling on Lynch's nomination, he could make that motion, which would force a vote on whether to accept that motion.

However, that will be a high hurdle for Democrats — there are only 46 Democrats in the Senate, so a handful of Republicans would have to agree with Reid's motion for it to pass. Right now, there are only a handful of Republicans who have said they will vote for Lynch if she finally comes up for a vote.

The very act of forcing a vote in the Senate could make it that much harder to find the few Republicans needed to vote with Democrats.

If Reid's motion did pass, Reid could then force another vote to end debate on Lynch, and then a final vote on whether to approve her. But again, each of these votes would need a simple majority for passage, which would mean support from some Republicans.

"Now I want to say this to all your viewers, um, we've put up with this far too long and we're going to need to have a vote on her very soon that's created by Mitch McConnell or I'll create one," he said, according to an early transcript of the show.

"I can still do that," he added. "I know parliamentary procedure around here and we're going to put up with this for a little while longer but not much."

Democrats have been seething over the delayed vote on Lynch, which Republicans have said will only happen after the Senate finishes work on a bill to help victims of human trafficking. Democrats themselves have been delaying that bill because they oppose the legislation's anti-abortion language.

The Senate was scheduled to try again to move that bill ahead Thursday, but canceled the vote amid signs that a compromise may be brewing on the abortion language.

With that possibility up in the air, the Senate finished all voting for the week, and was expected to try again on the trafficking bill next week. If a deal is finally in reach, it would likely eliminate the need for Reid's threat.

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