GOP floats possible deal in abortion fight

Greg Nash

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) on Thursday said  that he’s working on a solution to the fight over an abortion provision that has stalled anti-trafficking legislation in the Senate. 

Speaking on the Senate floor, Cornyn argued that by providing funding for a trafficking victims fund from general appropriations, it might be possible to reach a solution that could satisfy Democrats and Republicans.

Cornyn first floated the idea of the compromise on Wednesday.

{mosads}“I think there’s a way we can restructure and accomplish what we would want to accomplish … which is make sure we have this fund which is available,” the Texas Republican told reporters. “Of course they would be subject to the same restrictions that appropriations have been subject to for 39 years which is the Hyde Amendment.”

Democrats have blocked the Senate trafficking bill because the victims fund would be tied to the Hyde Amendment, which restricts federal funds from being used for abortions.

Democrats see it as an expansion of the Hyde Amemdment since the fund is established by criminal fines.

Cornyn on Thursday suggested that if that the fund was backed by general approrpiations and was linked to the Hyde Amendment, it would not expand Hyde and could allow the trafficking bill to move forward.

“I frankly don’t see it,” Cornyn said of the Democrats’ expansion argument. “But, I’m looking at a way to make some progress.”

Democrats blocked the Senate from moving forward on the legislation for second day in a row Wednesday and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said they would do so again on Thursday.

Asked Wednesday if Republicans would support appropriating the money for the victims fund, instead of it coming through fines that made it largely budget-neutral, Cornyn said senators are looking for a “solution.”

“Well, I think we’re looking for a way to get to a solution,” he said. “I think this could well be the beginning of that conversation.”

If Cornyn can strike a deal, he said a vote on the measure isn’t likely this week.

“It’s going to be hard, so it would probably be early next week,” he said. “But first we need a deal, we don’t have a deal.” 

This story was updated at 11:52 a.m. Thursday.

Tags Abortion John Cornyn trafficking
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