By Mary Clare Jalonick
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — The top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee plans to request a delay in the confirmation vote on President Donald Trump’s nominee for attorney general, a move that will push the panel’s vote back to Jan. 31.
The Judiciary panel was scheduled to vote Tuesday on Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions’ nomination. But committee rules allow any member of the panel to hold a vote over until the next week, and members of both parties frequently do. A spokesman for California Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Monday that she will request the extra week “to give the committee more time to conduct its due diligence.”
At Sessions’ hearing earlier this month, Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said he looked forward to “moving to his appointment without delay.” In a statement, though, he noted that such delays happen frequently.
“It’s a long-standing practice that has become standard operating procedure that allows members to further study a bill or a nominee’s record, or simply delay proceeding,” Grassley said.
Several Democrats on the panel have already said they will vote against Sessions, who is also a member of the committee. Most have said they are skeptical that the Republican will be fair and committed to civil rights, a chief priority of the Justice Department during the Obama administration.
Sessions was first elected to the Senate in 1996 and before that served as Alabama attorney general and a U.S. attorney. In two days of confirmation hearings, he laid out a sharply conservative vision for the Justice Department, pledging to crack down on illegal immigration, gun violence and terrorism.
He was the first senator to support Trump in the presidential campaign and has been one of his most enthusiastic backers.