WASHINGTON Senate Republicans blocked a vote of no confidence in Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on Monday, dashing Democratic hopes of embarrassing Gonzales and his boss, President George W. Bush, with a formal demand for his ouster.
A Senate vote of no confidence in a member of the president's Cabinet would have no force of law. But Democrats wanted to pile the pressure on the country's top law enforcement officer to quit over his handling of the controversial firing of U.S. prosecutors.
Democrats were unable to get the 60 votes they needed to overcome a procedural hurdle, gathering 53 votes in favor versus 38 against. Although some Republicans are also Gonzales critics, the party's leaders portrayed the non-binding motion as a waste of time, and Bush called it "meaningless."