Montana’s Senators Vote “No-Confidence”

By Beacon Staff

WASHINGTON (AP) – Montana’s two Democratic senators supported an unsuccessful Senate push to express “no confidence” in Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on Monday.

Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester voted with other members of their party to proceed to a vote on the measure. But Republicans successfully blocked the resolution, with a 53-38 vote to move to full debate falling seven short of the 60 required.

Democrats authored the resolution to give senators a chance to sound off on Gonzales, who has come under increasing criticism over his handling of the firings of several federal prosecutors. Republicans said the Democratic move was partisan politics at its worst.

Both senators said Gonzales is too distracted to do his job.

“Over the past few months, my colleagues and I have had many questions regarding the hiring and firing of senior officials,” Baucus said in a statement. “I hope more light will be shed on what’s happening at the Justice Department _ we owe it to all Montanans and Americans.”

Tester said Gonzales has “blurred the important line between law enforcement and politics.”

“This country faces far too many threats _ including the scourge of meth, fighting terrorism at home and abroad, and securing our ports and borders _ for the nation’s top cop to be meddling in partisanship,” Tester said. “I will support this effort because enforcing the laws of the land takes tough, honest leadership, free of politics.”

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