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McConnell Threatens To Delay Lynch Nomination Over Human Trafficking Bill

Mitch McConnell lays out the GOP's latest round of blackmail on the Loretta Lynch nomination.
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We all knew Republicans would play games and hold up Loretta Lynch's nomination for Attorney General over her support for President Obama's planned executive action on immigration. Now we've got a new excuse. Mitch McConnell plans to hold her nomination hostage unless Democrats agree to vote for their amendment in the human trafficking bill which Think Progress explained here: Republican Amendment Could Force Underage Trafficking Victims To Carry Their Pregnancies To Term:

A bipartisan bill aimed at aiding victims of human trafficking is in peril now that Democrats have learned it contains an anti-choice provision to restrict funding for abortion. Democratic lawmakers say they were not aware of the abortion-related language and have accused Republicans of sneaking it in.

The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015, which would establish a fund to raise money for victims from the fees charged to traffickers, wasn’t supposed to be controversial. It has supporters on both sides of the aisle and easily passed the House earlier this year. Both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) have urged members of their parties to support the legislation.

But this week, top Democrats learned that the bill includes language modeled after the Hyde Amendment, which restricts public funding for abortion procedures. The new fund created for trafficking victims would be subject to the same restrictions that currently prevent the public Medicaid program from using federal dollars to finance abortion coverage. Read on...

McConnell told CNN's Dana Bash that the Democrats knew about the language in the bill, repeating over and over that they had voted for the same language several months ago, as though they knew the language was in there at the time, which they didn't.

McConnell will delay Lynch unless Democrats cooperate:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Sunday said Loretta Lynch, President Obama's nominee to succeed Eric Holder as attorney general, will not move until Democrats cooperate on a human trafficking bill.

Democrats have threatened to veto the bipartisan trafficking measure because Republicans included a provision that would prohibit restitution funds from paying for abortions.


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McConnell told Dana Bash on CNN’s “State of the Union” that Lynch’s nomination will remain in a holding pattern until Democrats allow the trafficking bill to move forward.

“This will have an impact on the timing of considering the new attorney general. Now, I had hoped to turn to her next week, but if we can’t finish the trafficking bill, she will be put off again,” he said.

He argued it was a non-controversial bill that came out of the Judiciary Committee unanimously. He noted the language Democrats are objecting to was part of the legislation from the beginning of its consideration.

“They all voted for the very same language in a bill in December,” he said. “This is boilerplate language that has been in the law for almost 40 years that they all voted for three months ago in another bill."

He said he offered Democrats an up-or-down vote to strip the language.

Some Democrats have argued they overlooked the language when they first voted for the legislation.

“If they want to have time to turn to the attorney general next week, we need to finish up this human trafficking bill. It’s extremely important to the country,” McConnell added.

Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), the third-ranking member of the Democratic leadership, slammed McConnell for further delaying Lynch. Read on...

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