Dems Exposed in Abortion Fight on Trafficking Bill
Senate Democrats are blocking legislation aimed at fighting human trafficking.
Democrats in Congress erupted in anger last week, claiming they were not aware of a provision in the bill that blocks U.S. taxpayer funding for abortion. And they've been blocking the bill all this week.
They've accused Republicans of sneaking in wording to block the abortion funding.
But now the office of Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., is admitting that a staff aide knew about it weeks ago.
The actual legislation was made public about two months ago, and Democrats even voted for the bill while it was in the Judiciary Committee on Feb. 24.
The main goal of the legislation is to establish a fund to help victims of sex trafficking. It would do that by using funds taken from the perpetrators of trafficking.
The measure says none of the money could be used to pay for abortions except in cases of rape, incest, or if the life of the woman were in danger.
An identical ban on taxpayer funds for abortion is already part of U.S. law, so Republicans argue their bill is not controversial. They believe the same principle needs to be applied to the anti-trafficking bill.
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, lead author of the bill, hinted at one possible solution to the current logjam.
In comments on the Senate floor, Cornyn suggested making the victims' fund part of Congress' regular annual appropriations process. That would make it subject to annual abortion funding bans in current law instead of creating a new prohibition.