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Gonzales Vote Held Up

Attorney General designate Alberto Gonzales (search) will have to wait at least another week before getting a Senate committee vote on his nomination to be the nation's top law enforcement officer.

Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee (search) decided Wednesday to ask for a one-week hold on Gonzales' nomination.

Sen. Edward Kennedy (search), D-Mass., said the committee should not vote on Gonzales yet because the nominee has not yet answered all of the Democrats' questions. Democrats have complained that Gonzales has been evasive with his answers to their qued they want him delayed until they are satisfied.

"If we are to meet our constitutional responsibility in the confirmation process, we must insist that Mr. Gonzales provide responsive answers to these fundamental questions," Kennedy said. "He should not be listed on the agenda for a committee vote on his nomination until he does so."

The delay means that Senate Judiciary chairman Arlen Specter (search), R-Pa., can call for a confirmation vote on Gonzales at the next committee voting session, which will likely be next week when the Senate returns from its January recess.

Gonzales, who served as President Bush's lawyer during his first term, is expected to be confirmed when the Senate returns after Bush's inauguration. He would be the nation's first Hispanic attorney general and replace John Ashcroft (search).

In written answers to Democratic questions on Tuesday, Gonzales said he supports extending the expired federal assault weapons ban (search). He also told senators he wants Congress to reauthorize the Patriot Act (search) this year, despite complaints that it is too intrusive.