Democrats Filibuster Anti-Human Trafficking Bill Over Abortion Funding

Republicans refuse to vote on Attorney General nominee in return

Harry Reid
AP

Senate Democrats voted against bringing a bill focused on combating human trafficking to a final vote Tuesday. Democrats objected to language in the bill that prevents money from a restitution fund created by the bill to be used for abortions. Republicans have said they will not allow a vote on the confirmation of attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch until the human trafficking bill is voted on, Politico reported.

With the 55-43 tally, the Senate did not get the needed 60 votes to advance the trafficking bill to a vote for final passage. And it’s unclear what happens next to either that legislation or the Lynch nomination, as both sides on Tuesday showed no signs of relenting on the abortion fight.

In remarks before the late morning vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Senate Democrats are kowtowing to "left-wing lobbyists" by tanking the trafficking legislation over the abortion language.

"Democrats filibustering help for terrorized women and abused women would represent a new low for the Senate," McConnell said. "And the American people would not soon forget it. Nor should they."

The fight stems from just a few lines in the 68-page trafficking legislation – there since the bill was unveiled in January – that would restrict the money in a restitution fund from being used for abortions. Democrats apparently glossed over that language and did not notice it until it began to make its way to the floor early last week.

Several workarounds have been proposed, like removing the restitution fund all together, but for now, the bill and the nomination are stalled.