Republicans block Bush nominee to ATF

Feb. 15, 2008 at 12:53 AM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 15 (UPI) -- Three Republican U.S. senators are blocking confirmation of President George W. Bush's nominee to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

The Senate's failure to vote on Michael Sullivan leaves both the BATF and the U.S. attorney's office in Boston in limbo, the Boston Globe reports. Sullivan cannot be replaced as U.S. attorney until he is confirmed in the other position.

Sullivan has been commuting between Boston and Washington, serving as both U.S. attorney and acting head of the BATF.

The senators who have put a hold on the appointment are David Vitter of Louisiana and Larry Craig and Mike Crapo of Idaho. Craig said he has nothing against Sullivan but believes that holding up the confirmation is the only way to protest what he believes are burdensome regulations for gun owners and gun dealers.

Vitter told the Globe he asked Sullivan to give him a written explanation of his views on gun regulation and did not find his response satisfactory.

The two Democratic senators from Massachusetts, John Kerry and Edward Kennedy, both support Sullivan. The nomination has been approved by the Judiciary Committee.

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