The President's Weekly Address
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 the Attorney General.
It's been more than 4 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 4 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 Attorney Generals 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 small 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.
Thanks, and have a great weekend.
NOTE: The address was recorded at approximately 4:45 p.m. on March 20 in the Map Room at the White House for broadcast on March 21. The transcript was made available by the Office of the Press Secretary on March 20, but was embargoed for release until 6 a.m. on March 21.
Barack Obama, The President's Weekly Address Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/310084