• Human Trafficking Bill Continues to Run Into Opposition
  • April 21, 2015
  • Law Firm: McDonald Hopkins LLC - Cleveland Office
  • If you thought the recent outburst of bipartisanship would clear the way for a human trafficking bill - a bill that in theory enjoys almost unanimous support - you would be wrong.

    The bill became bogged down in a battle over abortion funding language, and the new plan, from Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX), includes abortion language but would use the same language that was used in the "doc fix" bill that easily passed the House and Senate with large bipartisan majorities.

    Republicans may just need to pick off two moderate Democrats to reach the 60 needed to beat a filibuster. Thus far, four Democratic senators have broken ranks and voted in favor of the human trafficking bill: Sens. Robert Casey, Heidi Heitkamp, Joe Donnelly, and Joe Manchin.

    However, it remains unclear if Republicans will be able to pick up the additional votes. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) blasted the new proposal and said Democrats would fight any effort to extend Hyde amendment language to non-taxpayer dollars.

    Democrats have offered nine proposals of their own—all which have been rejected, Murray said, adding that using the language in the doc-fix bill doesn't resolve the problem.

    "It was unnecessary, I don't believe it should be in [the doc-fix bill]," Murray said, "but it is the same language that has always been used on appropriations—very different on the trafficking bill that is now on the Senate agenda at this time, which for the very first time ever uses non-taxpayer dollars and applies Hyde to them. That is a bridge we are not going to allow to be crossed."