Senate leaders on Tuesday morning announced a deal on a long-stalled anti-human-trafficking bill, setting up a vote to confirm Loretta Lynch as attorney general later this week.
“I’m glad we can say there is a bipartisan proposal that will allow us to complete action on this legislation so we can provide help to the victims who desperately need it,” Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced on the Senate floor.
“As soon as we finish the trafficking bill, as I’ve indicated for some time now, we’ll move to the president’s nominee for attorney general in the next day or so,” he added.
Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Democratic Conference Secretary Patty Murray (Wash.) negotiated compromise language on abortion to spring the trafficking bill from a stalemate.
The agreement calls for funding a domestic trafficking victims’ fund with federal dollars appropriated by Congress and money collected from criminal offenders, preserving the prohibition on federal funds being used to pay for abortion services but not expanding it.
“I’m thrilled we were finally able to come together to break the impasse over this vital legislation, and I look forward to swift passage in the Senate so we can ensure victims of human trafficking receive the resources they need to restore their lives,” Cornyn said.
Democratic Leader Harry Reid (Nev.), who helped hash out the deal, claimed victory.
“After weeks of stalling on the bipartisan human trafficking bill our Republican colleagues have agreed not to expand the scope of the Hyde language,” he said.
The agreement on human trafficking sets up a vote on Lynch Wednesday or Thursday.
By Susie Madrak — April 21, 2015