McConnell sets up vote on trafficking bill
© Greg Nash
 
 
The Kentucky Republican filed cloture on an amendment from Sen. John CornynJohn CornynCruz, Cornyn to attend Biden inauguration McConnell about to school Trump on political power for the last time Rick Scott will 'likely' join challenge to election results MORE (R-Texas) that would shuffle where a victims fund, established by the legislation, would get its money. 
 
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Under Senate rules, a procedural vote on the amendment is expected Thursday, setting up the latest attempt by lawmakers to move forward on the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act. 
 
Cornyn said earlier Tuesday his amendment would send funding for the victims trafficking fund through the congressional appropriations process. 
 
“We would basically handle all of the funds that go into this compensation fund through the regular appropriations process, and we will use these same Hyde Amendment language that was negotiated between Nancy Pelosi and Speaker BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerHouse conservatives plot to oust Liz Cheney Ex-Speaker Boehner after Capitol violence: 'The GOP must awaken' Boehner congratulates President-elect Joe Biden MORE in the ‘doc fix’ bill,” he said. 
  
Under the Texas Republican’s amendment, money in the victims fund would have to be transferred directly from the General Treasury Fund. Money from criminal fines will be then deposited into the General Treasury to offset the withdrawal.
 
Cornyn added Tuesday, “All money in the domestic trafficking victims fund must be derived from the general treasury, the routine and ordinary source for all federal funding." 
 
He said that means the abortion restrictions would only be placed on money from the general treasury, and not from criminal fines. 
 
Thursday's procedural vote will mark the latest attempt by Republican leadership to move forward on the anti-trafficking legislation, which was stalled for two weeks because of a fight over abortion. 
 
Democrats argue the legislation as written would extend the Hyde Amendment, which restricts the use of federal funding for abortions, by applying it to the legislations’ victims fund that currently gets its money from criminal fines. 
 
Cornyn said with his amendment, he is "hopeful that we can be met at least half way" by Democrats. 
 
But, Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayHawley pens op-ed to defend decision to object to electoral votes amid pushback Demolition at the Labor Department, too Hawley, Cruz face rising anger, possible censure MORE (D-Wash.) said earlier Tuesday that Democrats have offered Republicans “nine proposals at this point, and they have rejected every single one of them.”