Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell delivered the following remarks on the Senate floor Wednesday regarding the stalled confirmation process for Judge Michael Mukasey to serve as Attorney General of the United States:
“Mr. President, today marks the 40th day since the President submitted the nomination of Judge Michael B. Mukasey to be our nation’s 81st Attorney General.
“The Mukasey nomination was the culmination of a process in which the President was extremely solicitous of the views of the Democratic Majority.
“Just to recap:
“Our friends on the Democratic side of the aisle did not want the former Attorney General to continue in office. Well, he has since resigned.
“Our Democratic colleagues wanted to be consulted on whom the next Attorney General should be. Well, the Administration consulted extensively with them.
“Our Democratic colleagues did not want the former Solicitor General to be nominated as Attorney General. Mr. Olson would have made an excellent choice. But the Administration did not nominate him.
“Our Democratic colleagues said that if, instead, the ‘President were to nominate a . . . conservative . . . like a Mike Mukasey,’ he ‘would get through the Senate very, very quickly.’ Well, the President did not nominate someone ‘like’ Mike Mukasey; he nominated Mike Mukasey himself! And he received widespread acclaim for doing so.
“So, Mr. President, it is apparent that the President acted in a very bi-partisan fashion.
“Did our Democratic colleagues reciprocate to this act of good faith? Well, Mr. President, at this point, it’s difficult to say that they have.
“First, they held up the nomination for weeks before even scheduling a hearing. An action — or, more precisely, an in-action — which the Washington Post termed ‘irresponsible.’
“Then, despite the fact that Judge Mukasey testified for two days and answered 250 questions in the process, our Democratic colleagues asked him to answer an additional 500 written questions. By contrast, Mr. President, Attorney General Reno did not receive any written questions until after she was confirmed.
“Then it took over two weeks for a markup to be scheduled. I understand that one has now been set for Tuesday of next week, and I am glad that has finally occurred.
“But Mr. President it shouldn’t have taken nearly this long. Months ago our Democratic colleagues told us that ‘the nation needs a new Attorney General, and it can’t afford to wait.’
“Unfortunately, since then, we have been doing a lot of waiting and waiting and waiting. We have been waiting so long that Judge Mukasey’s nomination is the longest pending Attorney General nomination in two decades.
“Now the good news is that a markup has been set. We need to get him to the floor for an up or down vote as soon as possible.
“I think we’ve seen some unfortunate partisanship, and I am hopeful that it will stop, and that we can get Judge Mukasey to work at the Justice Department where he is needed.”