Senate Republicans blocked a resolution of no confidence in Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on a procedural vote Monday.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Senate Republicans blocked a resolution of no confidence in Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on a procedural vote Monday, mustering enough votes to keep the measure off the chamber's floor.
Gonzales has been under fire for months over the 2006 firings of U.S. attorneys in at least eight cities, and several Republican senators have called for him to resign. Seven Republicans joined Democrats in voting to bring the no-confidence resolution to the floor, but the 53-38 vote was short of the three-fifths vote needed.
Senate GOP leaders argued that the Democratic-backed resolution was a waste of time, since Gonzales serves at the pleasure of President Bush. The president restated his support for his longtime friend and aide Monday and dismissed any Senate vote as "meaningless."
Affirming confidence in Cabinet secretaries "is not our job," said Sen. Trent Lott, the Republican whip.
"We don't have authority to make that determination," Lott said. "So what are we going to accomplish today? This is all about partisan politics. No one is fooled by this."
But the measure's principal sponsor, New York Democrat Charles Schumer, noted that none of the GOP leadership voiced support for the attorney general Monday afternoon.
"To vote no when one in fact agrees with the sentiment in the resolution is to cast a vote for the worst political reasons," he said.