From NBC's Ken Strickland
Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer says the Senate will take a "no confidence" vote on Attorney General Alberto Gonzales after it completes action on the immigration reform bill. Under the current working schedule, that would be about the week of June 11th. But his efforts will still face both procedural and political hurdles before getting to such a vote.
At a news conference today, Schumer introduced his non-binding resolution against Gonzales which states, "Alberto Gonzales no longer holds the confidence of the Senate and the American people." Schumer says he consulted with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid about the timing of vote. But Senate rules afford the minority party several tools to jam the process or push Democrats back on their political heels. While there are a handful of Senate Republicans who've called for Gonzales to resign (and several more who've shunned support for him), Schumer's resolution has no Republican co-sponsors. And without GOP support, Schumer would be unable to muster the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster.
One of the Republicans who's called for the attorney general to step down has already indicated he'd throw up one of those political obstacles. Sen. Tom Coburn says if there's a no-confidence vote on Gonzales, there should also be one on Congress' ability to balance the budget -- a jab to the Democratic leadership. "It is hypocritical for the Senate to grand stand for political purposes while ignoring its own shortcomings that threaten the solvency of Social Security and Medicare and the standard of living of future generations," Coburn wrote in a letter to Republican leaders.