Dems will block trafficking bill for third time

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Thursday that Democrats will again block the Senate from moving forward on an anti-human-trafficking bill because of a fight over abortion.

Reid said that votes expected Thursday will have the same result as those taken earlier this week.

{mosads}“The Senate will vote for a third time on whether to end debate on human trafficking. The result will be the same,” Reid said. “[That] indicates for me there is a waste of time here this week.”

Democrats previously blocked the Senate from moving forward on the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act during votes on Tuesday and Wednesday because of their opposition to language in the bill that would prevent any federal funds used for a victims fund to pay for abortions.

Democrats see the language as an expansion of the Hyde Amendment, because it would apply to a fund established through criminal fines.

Reid again called for Republicans to simply remove the abortion provision from the bill.

“Are you interested in working toward a solution on this human trafficking legislation?” he said from the Senate floor. “If so just take the abortion language out.”

Republicans argue appropriations bills and authorization bills in the past have been subject to the Hyde Amendment language and that the trafficking bill would not change the status quo.

They also argue that Democrats allowed the bill to move forward in committee despite the inclusion of the abortion language.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) suggested that Democrats are holding up the bill because they want to get “get their way.”

“They’re blocking a bill on human trafficking, yes blocking, in hopes that they can get their way,” he said. “This is basically what they’ve been telling us: We don’t read legislation we vote on.”

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) on Thursday argued on the Senate floor that funding for the victims fund could come from general appropriations. He again suggested that if that funding was linked to the Hyde Amendment, it would not expand the anti-abortion statute and could allow the trafficking bill to move forward.

Tags Abortion Harry Reid John Cornyn trafficking

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