By Jennifer Bendery, the Huffington Post

WASHINGTON — The Senate Judiciary Committee voted Thursday to confirm Loretta Lynch as the next U.S. attorney general, bringing her one step closer to becoming the first African-American woman to hold the post.

U.S. Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch

Senators in both parties have hailed Lynch’s qualifications. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) described her as “well-qualified,” and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said Lynch has “the character, the determination and the experience to be a strong, independent attorney general.”

Lynch, a twice-confirmed U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, has waited months for a vote. She was nominated by Obama in November, but didn’t get a hearing until late January. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who chairs the committee, delayed her vote until Thursday.

“We’re going to be voting — finally, finally, finally — on the nomination for Loretta Lynch,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the committee’s ranking Democrat. “I’ve been here for 40 years, and no attorney general … has ever had to wait this long for a vote.”

Lynch’s nomination now heads to the full Senate for a vote.

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