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No Confidence

The non-binding resolution would express the "sense of the Senate" that Gonzales "no longer holds the confidence of the American people."

Today, the Senate will hold its first no-confidence vote in history. The non-binding resolution introduced by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) would express the “sense of the Senate” that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales “no longer holds the confidence of the American people.” The White House and its conservative allies have written off the vote, with White House Press Secretary Tony Snow stating that it will have “no effect” on President Bush’s confidence in Gonzales. “[T]here’s an attempt to pull this thing like a piece of taffy, seeing if there’s any political advantage in it,” said Snow on Fox News Sunday. “There’s not.” Snow’s comments undermine the seriousness of the no-confidence vote and the bipartisan dissatisfaction with Gonzales. As Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) recently noted, this vote is a “historical black mark.”

  • Senators from across the ideological spectrum have lost confidence in Gonzales’ ability to lead the Justice Department. “The bottom line is the only person who thinks the attorney general should remain attorney general is the president,” notes Schumer. “He’s gotten virtually no support from even Republicans in the Senate, just a handful have supported him, six have called for him to step down, a dozen more have said very negative things about him.” But unfortunately, many of these Senate conservatives who have used criticism of Gonzales as a public relations stunt are now unwilling to oppose the president and support the no-confidence vote. On April 19, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) told Gonzales that “the best way to put this behind us is your resignation.” But he has now said that he will oppose today’s no-confidence vote and will instead introduce an unrelated pet amendment, “expressing ‘no confidence’ in Congress’ ability to cut wasteful spending or balance the budget.” The five other conservative senators are still “unwilling to tip their hands about how they will vote,” despite previously publicly calling on Gonzales to resign.