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Weekly Address: President Obama – It’s Time to Confirm Loretta Lynch

The President’s Weekly Address post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.


From the White HouseWeekly Address

In this week’s address, the President called on Republicans in Congress to stop playing politics with law enforcement and national security and confirm Loretta Lynch as Attorney General of the United States.

Loretta is an independent, career prosecutor who deserves to be confirmed as soon as possible. She has proven herself time and again throughout her 30-year career, yet come Monday, the amount of time her nomination will have languished on the floor of the Senate will total more than that of the past seven Attorney General nominees combined.  

In his address the President asked Republicans in Congress to stop denying a vote on the nomination of Loretta Lynch and end the longest confirmation process for an Attorney General in three decades.

Transcript: Weekly Address: It’s Time To Confirm Loretta Lynch

Hi, everybody.  One of the most important positions in the President’s Cabinet – and to our national security, our law enforcement, and our criminal justice system – is Attorney General.

It has been more than four months since I nominated Loretta Lynch to serve as the next Attorney General of the United States.  For 30 years, Loretta has distinguished herself as a tough, fair, and independent attorney.  As the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, she successfully prosecuted the terrorists who plotted to bomb the Federal Reserve Bank and the New York City subway.  She helped secure billions in settlements for people wronged by some of the world’s biggest banks.  She’s been dogged in her pursuit of public corruption.  She’s jailed some of New York’s most violent and notorious mobsters and gang members.  And through it all, she’s worked closely with law enforcement and local communities to get the job done.

In short, her qualifications are superb.  That’s why, in the past, the Senate easily confirmed Loretta to lead one of the most prominent U.S. Attorney offices in the country – not once, but twice.

Still – it has been more than four months since I nominated Loretta Lynch to serve as Attorney General.  

And this time, Republican leaders in Congress won’t even let her nomination come up for a vote.  In fact, by Monday, Loretta will have been languishing on the Senate floor for longer than the seven previous Attorneys General combined.  Let me say that again – she will have been waiting for a simple yes-or-no vote on the Senate floor for longer than the seven previous Attorneys General combined.

No one can claim she’s unqualified.  No one’s saying she can’t do the job.  Senators from both parties say they support her.  This is purely about politics.  First, Republicans held up her nomination because they were upset about the actions I took to make our broken immigration system smarter and fairer.  Now they’re denying her a vote until they can figure out how to pass a bill on a completely unrelated issue.  But they could bring her up for a yes-or-no vote at any time.

Republicans promised that Congress would function smoothly with them in charge.  Here’s a chance for them to prove it.  Congress should stop playing politics with law enforcement and national security.  They should support good people in both parties who want to reform our criminal justice system.  And that means they should end the longest confirmation process for an Attorney General in three decades, and give Loretta Lynch a vote.

Thank you.  And have a great weekend.

Bolding added.



  1. I hope that the president keeps hammering away on this:

    Republicans promised that Congress would function smoothly with them in charge.

  2. Eric Holder on MSNBC

    For Attorney General Eric Holder, the GOP’s obstruction of Loretta Lynch’s nomination to replace him is both a slap in the face to the political process and demeaning to Lynch, an unblemished nominee who has been widely praised on both sides of the aisle.

    “The notion that we would be here, where we are deadlocked about a woman who is unbelievably qualified, who received really glowing reviews about her performance during her confirmation hearing, is almost inconceivable to me,” Holder told msnbc on Friday. “When we show to the American people the dysfunction that has gripped Washington over the last few years, and add yet another layer of dysfunction, this erodes faith in our institutions. And that’s just not good for the country over the long term.”[…]

    Holder said it strikes him as “a little strange” that Republicans who have time and again derided him as attorney general are stalling his exit by holding Lynch’s nomination hostage.


    President Obama in HuffPo

    President Barack Obama chastised Senate Republicans on Friday for refusing to confirm his attorney general nominee, saying it’s inexcusable to hold Loretta Lynch “hostage” as a bargaining chip for separate legislation.

    “You don’t hold attorney general nominees hostage for other issues,” Obama told The Huffington Post’s Sam Stein in a sit-down interview. “This is our top law enforcement office. Nobody denies that she’s well-qualified. We need to go ahead and get her [confirmation] done.” […]

    “I don’t know about that,” the president said on Friday, referring to the role that race may have played in delaying Lynch’s confirmation. Instead, he pointed to “Senate dysfunction” and “stubbornness on the part of Republicans to move nominees, period.”

    “The irony is, of course, that the Republicans really dislike Mr. Holder,” said Obama. “If they really want to get rid of him, the best way to do it is to go ahead and get Loretta Lynch confirmed.”


  3. DeniseVelez

    She is superbly qualified but that makes no difference to a group of elected thugs who are willing to shatter the world’s security to play their games undermining the President

  4. 3/20/2015 Interior Department Releases Final Rule to Support Safe, Responsible Hydraulic Fracturing Activities on Public and Tribal Lands

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following a robust and transparent public process that included more than 1.5 million public comments, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today released final standards that will support safe and responsible hydraulic fracturing on public and American Indian lands. The commonsense standards will improve safety and help protect groundwater by updating requirements for well-bore integrity, wastewater disposal and public disclosure of chemicals.

    There are more than 100,000 oil and gas wells on federally managed lands.  Of wells currently being drilled, over 90 percent use hydraulic fracturing. The rule applies only to development on public and tribal lands and includes a process so that states and tribes may request variances from provisions for which they have an equal or more protective regulation in place. This will avoid duplication while enabling the development of more protective standards by state and tribal governments.  Today’s final rule is a major step in the Department of the Interior’s agenda to support a balanced, prosperous energy future.  Other reforms will also include important measures to target where oil and gas leasing occurs and protect sensitive areas that are too special to drill.

    “Current federal well-drilling regulations are more than 30 years old and they simply have not kept pace with the technical complexities of today’s hydraulic fracturing operations,” Secretary Jewell said. “This updated and strengthened rule provides a framework of safeguards and disclosure protocols that will allow for the continued responsible development of our federal oil and gas resources. As we continue to offer millions of acres of public lands for conventional and renewable energy production, it is absolutely critical the public have confidence that transparent and effective safety and environmental protections are in place.” […]

    Key components of the rule, which will take effect in 90 days include:

    • Provisions for ensuring the protection of groundwater supplies by requiring a validation of well integrity and strong cement barriers between the wellbore and water zones through which the wellbore passes;

    • Increased transparency by requiring companies to publicly disclose chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing to the Bureau of Land Management through the website FracFocus, within 30 days of completing fracturing operations;

    • Higher standards for interim storage of recovered waste fluids from hydraulic fracturing to mitigate risks to air, water and wildlife;

    • Measures to lower the risk of cross-well contamination with chemicals and fluids used in the fracturing operation, by requiring companies to submit more detailed information on the geology, depth, and location of preexisting wells to afford the BLM an opportunity to better evaluate and manage unique site characteristics.

    More information at the link.

  5. On March 19, 2015, President Obama spoke at the Department of Energy on the importance of renewable energy sources and the impacts of climate change.

    Transcript: Remarks by the President on Energy and Climate Change

    FACT SHEET: Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the Federal Government and Across the Supply Chain

    The President is committed to addressing the climate change threat – both by taking action here at home and showing leadership on the world stage. As part of his commitment to lead by example to curb the emissions that are driving climate change, today President Obama will issue an Executive Order that will cut the Federal Government’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 40 percent over the next decade from 2008 levels — saving taxpayers up to $18 billion in avoided energy costs — and increase the share of electricity the Federal Government consumes from renewable sources to 30 percent. Complementing this effort, several major Federal suppliers are announcing commitments to cut their own GHG emissions. Today, the Administration is hosting a roundtable that will bring some of these large Federal suppliers together to discuss the benefits of their GHG reduction targets or to make their first-ever corporate commitments to disclose emissions and set new reduction goals.

    More at the link.

  6. Diana in NoVa

    derided by the trad. media is ALL on the part of the Rethugs! Yet they never, ever mention that. Hail, even Norman Ornstein and that other guy wrote a book about it–can’t remember what it was called, it’s still morning–but they pointed out that the obstructionism is due to one party alone.

    I hope our twice-elected POTUS continues to trumpet his accomplishments at every opportunity–the ever-upward stock market, reduced unemployment, deficit cut in half, reduced spending on runaway health care costs–so voters will get the message.

  7. I personally would like to see just about anyone other than noted racist Andrew Jackson on the 20 but this seems like good idea Women On 20s

    Women On 20s aims to compel historic change by convincing President Obama that NOW is the time to put a woman’s face on our paper currency.

    It’s our mission to generate an overwhelming people’s mandate for a new $20 bill, to be issued in time for the 100th anniversary in 2020 of the Constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote.

    Here is their list (more details at the link):

    Alice Paul (1885 – 1977)

    “There will never be a new world order until women are a part of it.”

    Betty Friedan (1921 – 2006)

    “The problem that has no name – which is simply the fact that American women are kept from growing to their full human capacities – is taking a far greater toll on the physical and mental health of our country than any known disease.”

    Shirley Chisholm (1924 – 2005)

    “Tremendous amounts of talent are lost to our society just because that talent wears a skirt.”

    Sojourner Truth (c.1797 – 1883)

    “We do as much, we eat as much, we want as much.”

    Rachel Carson (1907 – 1964)

    “Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.”

    Rosa Parks (1913 – 2005)

    “I would like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free… so other people would be also free.”

    Barbara Jordan (1936 – 1996)

    “Through the process of amendment, interpretation and court decision I have finally been included in ‘We, the people.'”

    Margaret Sanger (1879 – 1966)

    “No woman can call herself free who cannot own and control her body.”

    Patsy Mink (1927 – 2002)

    “Women have a tremendous responsibility to help shape the future of America, to help decide policies that will affect the course of our history.”

    Clara Barton (1821 – 1912)

    “Everybody’s business is nobody’s business, and nobody’s business is my business.”

    Harriet Tubman (c.1822 – 1913)

    “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”

    Frances Perkins (1880 – 1965)

    “The door might not be opened to a woman again for a long, long time, and I had a kind of duty to other women to walk in and sit down on the chair that was offered….”

    Susan B. Anthony (1820 – 1906)

    “Organize, agitate, educate, must be our war cry.”

    Eleanor Roosevelt (1884 – 1962)

    “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

    Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815 – 1902)

    “The best protection any woman can have…is courage.”

    Lots of good people to choose from. Tough call! The only one clearly unsuited is noted racist Susan B. Anthony. It is offensive to see here there amongst women whose biography starts “once a slave …”.

    (Note: The web site has a place to “vote” which looks like a place to “get your email address”. Maybe we should start a We The People White House petition?)

  8. Iran Nuclear Talks On Pause As Deadline Looms

    With just days left before a self-imposed, end-of-month deadline to announce what the Iranians prefer to call “solutions” and the Americans call a “political understanding,” stubborn gaps remain. Sticking points include the length of an agreement, the amount of nuclear R&D that Iran should be permitted under a deal, and which sanctions will be lifted when, and in response to what action by Iran.[…]

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry – who said “We’re pushing through some tough issues, but we’re making progress” – will stop in London to brief his British, French and German counterparts. Kerry had a one-on-one meeting with Iran’s atomic energy chief, Ali Akhbar Salehi, near the end of this round of talks in the Swiss city of Lausanne.

    Some pressure from Washington was eased when Congress decided to postpone consideration of Iran-related legislation until next month.

    A non-nuclear Iran is good news for the world but bad news for the 2016 Republican demagogues who need fear to get their base to the polls.

  9. Instead, let your people die, I guess. Interesting he would invoke God’s name … what happened to all that “care for the sick” stuff in the Christian bible? Optional If You Are A Republican?

    Don’t Set Up ACA Exchanges To Save Subsidies

    A top House Republican says states should avoid setting up Obamacare exchanges as a way to protect insurance subsidies for their residents if the Supreme Court erases them on the federally-run marketplace.

    “Oh God, no… The last thing anybody in my opinion would want to do, even if you are not a conservative, is consign your state to this law,” Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the chair of the powerful Ways & Means Committee, told state legislators on a Thursday conference call, according to the Wall Street Journal.

    Instead, Ryan urged them to sit tight while Congress works on introducing legislation to reform health care, saying it would drop by June 20.

    “If people blink and if people say this political pressure is too great, I’m just going to sign up for a state-based exchange and put my constituents in Obamacare, then this opportunity will slip through your fingers,” Ryan said, per the Journal.

    I am not sure what he is selling, perhaps more of his patented Paul Ryan Magic Asterisk Trickle Down Snake Oil. But two things: 1) Congress has no replacement; and 2) President Obama will not sign any budget that dismantles the Affordable Care Act. So if the court does strike down the mandates, there is no plan b except to convince their constituents to “die and die quickly”.

  10. A new report from the Center for American Progress and the Wilderness Society “calls for the Obama Administration to develop a comprehensive strategy to account for and reduce carbon emissions.”  

    Responding to this (“The Biggest Source Of U.S. Carbon Emissions Is Coal Extracted From Public Lands”):

    In a speech earlier this week at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell called for reform to the way that the DOI manages America’s public resources to consider climate change. She also called for “an honest and open conversation about modernizing the federal coal program,” that addresses climate change, transparency, and ensuring taxpayers are getting a fair return on a publicly held resource.

    Secretary Jewell also previewed an upcoming proposed rule to cut methane emissions from the venting and flaring associated with fossil-fuel extraction on public lands – another major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. According to the report, methane pollution from onshore federal leases increased by 51 percent between 2008 and 2013. The rule is part of a White House plan to address methane emissions.

    A draft rule is expected this summer, followed by a final rule in 2016.

  11. Push to restore voting rights for felons gathers momentum

    … in the wake of record low voter turnout in last fall’s midterm elections, a movement is growing in Washington and around the country to dismantle a set of restrictions that keep nearly 6 million Americans from the polls: felon disenfranchisement laws.

    Many state restrictions on felon voting were imposed in the wake of Reconstruction, as the South looked for ways to suppress black political power. But now, the falling crime rates of the last two decades have prompted a broader reassessment of tough-on-crime policies. Meanwhile, the ongoing Republican-led assault on voting has triggered a backlash that aims to expand, rather than contract, voting rights.

    On Wednesday, Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), backed by an array of civil- and voting-rights groups, introduced a bill that would restore voting rights for federal elections to Americans with past criminal convictions upon their release from incarceration.

    It really is about time. There is no reason to continue to punish someone after they have paid their debt to society. And considering that quite a few of the “felonies” that disenfranchised many of these people were drug charges that have since been discredited, we owe it to them to return them to full citizenship.

    Republicans have no incentive to expand the franchise and every incentive to keep blacks from voting. But the states are weighing in:

    The biggest battleground is Florida, which disenfranchises more than 10% of voting-age citizens, and nearly one in four African-Americans, because of past felony convictions. There, a petition drive is underway, led by the League of Women Voters, to get a constitutional amendment on the 2016 ballot that would restore voting rights for ex-offenders.

    Maryland and Minnesota have bills that have made it through one of the legislative branches and are being considered in the other. In Iowa, which had restored the vote to felons under the Democratic governor … and revoked it again when the Republican won in 2010, a lawsuit is pending to restore the vote.

  12. Voting is Fundamental

    On Wednesday, in a speech in Cleveland, the president mused that it would be a terrific thing if everybody who was eligible to vote put down the damn remote, got their lazy ass out of the La-Z-Boy, and did their fking democratic duty because there are millions of people around the world who would wear a gaboon viper as a necktie for the opportunity we have to choose our leaders. I am paraphrasing here somewhat.

    He goes on to lambast Peggy Noonan, a Fox Host named Nina Easton and Tucker Carlson, and remind us of the execrable Paul Weyrich:

    What has sent people like the Dolphin Queen and Easton spiraling into incoherence — and Carlson ducking back behind the dickitude that is his only remaining marketable skill? It is the simple fact that the Republican party, and the conservative movement that is its only real political energy, have concluded in tandem that they cannot persuade an actual majority of the people eligible to vote in America to support their continued effort to establish a retrograde, racially exclusive plutocracy. This realization first struck Paul Weyrich, one of the founders of the modern conservative movement who, more than 30 years ago, declined to use his inside voice while talking about it.

       “I don’t want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people. They never have been from the beginning of our country, and they are not now. As a matter of fact our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.”

    That is the ur-moment for all the forces that have combined to restrict the franchise for the four decades since the blood and death in Alabama helped crack the Jim Crow ballot in the South. There is a through-line from Selma, to Weyrich, to Kris Kobach in Kansas, to John Roberts’s declaration of the Day Of Jubilee in the Shelby County case. It is the ultimate long game that they’re playing.

    Don’t let them win.

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