Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn said Monday the debate over replacing Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. will "take a lot of oxygen out of the air" for the post-election lame-duck session.
"There's so much ill will already, this would just poison the well even further," the Texas Republican said in an interview with the editorial board of The Dallas Morning News.
"Right now I think [Democrats] are probably making a calculation because there's some things I think they would like to do no matter what happens. We've got some of these tax extender provisions that expired a year ago that are sort of sitting there waiting ... that have bipartisan support," Cornyn said. "There's a lot of nominations, judicial and others, that I think they would like to move through in the lame duck, especially if Republicans win the majority, as I hope we do."
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest pointed to the possibility of a lame-duck confirmation fight last week, when he pointed to an earlier situation when the Defense Secretary Robert Gates received swift confirmation after an election.
"Mitch McConnell indicated that that nominee should be confirmed in the lame-duck period; ... they should not wait until after the first of the year, they should not allow the bipartisan — they should not allow the new senators in the Senate to evaluate the nominee, but that this nominee should get a prompt vote," Earnest said. " And in less than a month, Dec. 6, Secretary Gates was confirmed to his post with strong bipartisan support."
Of course, Gates was the very definition of a noncontroversial nominee, something that may or may not be the case for Holder's successor.
"This I think would be all, if not all-consuming, it would take a lot of oxygen out of the air," Cornyn said, adding that he had seen the reports the Democrats in the Senate also intend to debate the use of force against the terror group known as ISIS during the post-election session.
"Again, I think it sends kind of a bad message when you have people who are retiring or who've been defeated in their election voting on such critical matters, but I realize at some point we've got to get it done when we can get it done," Cornyn added.
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