Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is refusing to hold a vote to confirm attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch until Democrats agree to pass an anti-human trafficking bill without objection.
McConnell on Sunday said he would delay action on Lynch's nomination until Democrats agree to cooperate on legislation intended to combat human trafficking.
“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,” McConnell said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Why would Democrats object to passing an anti-human trafficking bill?
Democrats are objecting to the bill because Republicans attached an anti-abortion rider to it that would prevent victims of human trafficking from obtaining an abortion.
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.
To put it another way: Senate Republicans believe victims of human trafficking who've been sexually assaulted should be forced to carry their rapists' babies.
The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015 would use fees levied against the traffickers themselves (not taxpayer dollars) to help victims, but Senate Republicans evidently do not believe those funds should be used to provide abortions. This is purely ideological.
The only consolation at this point in time is that further delay of Lynch's confirmation means we get to keep Attorney General Eric Holder around for a little longer.
I hesitate to assume that Lynch will be confirmed within the next two years. Such a delay would not be without precedent in the Obama era.