WASHINGTON — Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) was confirmed as the next attorney general of the United States 52-47 after a heated, marathon debate.
Only one Democrat ended up voting for his colleague: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). Directly after the Sessions vote, though, Manchin announced he would not be voting for Health and Human Services Secretary nominee Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) as the Senate moved into that debate period.
“I am confident that he will faithfully execute the duties of the office of chief law enforcement officer and chief lawyer of the United States government with dignity,” Manchin said of his friend Sessions.
All Republicans backed Sessions.
Despite the acrimonious debate, which saw Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) get silenced Tuesday night on what GOPs said was a rules violation for impugning Sessions on the floor, many Democrats hugged or shook hands with Sessions after his confirmation.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) declared Sessions would be “an attorney general for all Americans.”
“We all know our colleague from Alabama. He’s honest. He’s fair. He’s been a friend to many of us, on both sides of the aisle,” McConnell said on the Senate floor ahead of the vote. “It’s been tough to watch all this good man has been put through in recent weeks. This is a well-qualified colleague with a deep reverence for the law. He believes strongly in the equal application of it to everyone.”
Sessions gave a farewell speech to the chamber directly after his confirmation. Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley gets to appoint Sessions’ immediate replacement; he’s said to be considering Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange, who has expressed intent to run in the yet-to-be-announced special election for the Senate seat.
The Senate has been continuously in session since noon Monday as Democrats vow to fill up the allotted debate time on President Trump’s nominees. That session length is second only to a 125-hour session in 1960.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) today said Republicans were using selective enforcement of chamber rules to shut up Warren.
“Just last week I heard a friend from the other side accuse me of an engaging in a ‘tear-jerking performance’ that belonged at the ‘Screen Actors Guild awards,'” Schumer said. “It was only the second time that week I had been accused of fake tears on the floor of the Senate, but I didn’t run to the floor to invoke Rule XIX… But when my friend from Massachusetts read a piece of Congressional testimony by Coretta Scott King – she was told to sit down.”
“…I certainly hope that this anti-free-speech attitude is not traveling down Pennsylvania Avenue to our great chamber… even speech that is substantive, relevant, on point to the matter this body is considering, and appropriate and measured in tone.”