Democratic staffer knew abortion provision was in trafficking bill
© Getty Images

A Democratic staffer knew that a controversial abortion provision was in a human trafficking bill that is now stalled in the Senate.

Julia Krahe, a spokeswoman for Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Klobuchar Klobuchar offers tribute to her father, who died Wednesday The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Cheney poised to be ousted; Biden to host big meeting Senate panel deadlocks in vote on sweeping elections bill MORE (D-Minn.), told The Associated Press that an aide to the senator saw the abortion language before the legislation was passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this year.

The aide, however, "did not inform the senator” about the provision, Krahe wrote in an email.


“The senator takes the responsibility for the work of her office and missing the provision and she is focused on moving forward to find a way to fix the bill and protect victims of trafficking," Krahe told the AP.

Klobuchar has been one of the main champions of the trafficking bill in the Senate.

Democrats have accused Republicans of sneaking the Hyde Amendment, which blocks the use of federal funds for abortions, into the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act.

Since last week, they have blocked the bill once over the abortion caveat, and are threatening to do so again unless Republicans remove the abortion provision.

Republicans, in turn, have blasted Democrats for holding up the bill, noting the abortion language was in an identical bill that they supported last year.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBipartisanship has become a partisan weapon Washington showing signs of normalcy after year of restrictions Former OMB pick Neera Tanden to serve as senior adviser to Biden MORE (R-Ky.) on Wednesday said if every Democrat who previously supported the legislation voted for it on the floor, Republicans would have enough votes to break the filibuster.

"All that will mean is the Democrats on the Judiciary Committee supporting the very same bill they voted for just a few weeks earlier," he said. "Apparently all of these senators were for this human rights bill before they were against it."

Sen. Dick DurbinDick Durbin28 Senate Democrats sign statement urging Israel-Hamas ceasefire Senate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Sweeping election reform bill faces Senate buzz saw MORE (D-Ill.) told reporters Tuesday that his staff did read the bill, but suggested that they missed the provision.

"My staff did review it, and this is one of those obscure section references that doesn't, as I understand it, even include the words Hyde Amendment or abortion," he said. "And there was a representation made to several senators that this — there was nothing else in the bill to be concerned about other than a few listed issues, and this was not included."