The Senate Judiciary Committee split sharply over a bill to extend FBI Director Robert Mueller’s term, reports Politico.com. Senate Republicans warned that Democrats were risking constitutional challenges as well as a potential defeat for the plan in the House. The dispute was not over the merits of allowing Mueller to spend another two years as head of the FBI. Instead, lawmakers are at odds over whether legislation Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) proposed is constitutional.
The bill cleared committee on an 11-7 vote, largely along party lines. A law professor warned that the legislation may not comply with the appointments clause of the Constitution. That led Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and other Republicans to craft an alternative proposal to create a new two-year term for the FBI director post, which President Obama could then nominate Mueller to fill.