Tags: Amy Klobuchar | staffer | anti-abortion | human-trafficking

Klobuchar: Dem Staffer to Blame for Human Trafficking Bill Debacle

By    |   Wednesday, 18 Mar 2015 08:26 PM

Senate Democrats continued to block debate on human trafficking legislation for a second consecutive day Wednesday even after Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar's office acknowledged that a staffer knew weeks ago that the bill included language to limit the use of funds to pay for abortions.

The legislation is aimed at helping victims of sex trafficking by establishing a fund to assist them with money confiscated from sex traffickers. It had been expected to easily pass the Senate until Democrats raised the abortion issue last week.

Democrats have claimed to be holding up the bill because Republicans "snuck" abortion language into it. The claim appears debatable after the acknowledgment by Klobuchar's office.

Democrats have said for over a week "that their side of the aisle was not aware of the provision until a few days ago, nearly two months after the legislation was made public and long after a bipartisan vote in the Judiciary Committee on Feb. 24," the Associated Press reported.

But in fact, the aide "had seen the language," yet "did not inform the senator," Klobuchar spokeswoman Julia Krahe told the AP.

"The senator takes responsibility for the work of her office and missing the provision, and she is focused on moving forward to find a way to fix the bill and protect victims of trafficking," Krahe said.

The spokeswoman for Klobuchar —  a leading Senate Democratic advocate for the human-trafficking measure —  made the acknowledgment late Tuesday in response to a query first made one week earlier.

So far, "the Democrats' way of taking responsibility has been to blame Republicans for hiding the provision and to demand the language be removed from the bill before allowing it to proceed," the Daily Caller opined.

The language —  to bar the use of funds to pay for abortions except when necessary to save the life of the mother or in cases of rape or incest —  "has been publicly available for months, and made it through the committee process with unanimous bipartisan support. It's been a standard addition to spending bills for decades," the website noted.

Another mystery, according to the AP, is whether abortion-rights advocacy groups had been informed about the inclusion of the language in the human-trafficking bill.

Representatives of the National Organization for Women, the National Women's Law Center and other groups said Wednesday that they had been unaware of the provision.

Adding to Democrats' displeasure, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has blocked a vote on the nomination of Loretta Lynch to be attorney general until the human-trafficking measure is passed.

Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois injected the race issue into the debate, suggesting that Republicans had blocked Lynch's nomination because she is African-American.

"The only thing holding up that vote is the Democrats' filibuster of a bill that would help prevent kids from being sold into sex slavery," a McConnell spokesman shot back.

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Senate Democrats continued to block debate on human trafficking legislation for a second consecutive day Wednesday even after Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar's office acknowledged that a staffer knew weeks ago that the bill included language to limit the use of funds to pay for abortions.
Amy Klobuchar, staffer, anti-abortion, human-trafficking
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2015-26-18
Wednesday, 18 Mar 2015 08:26 PM
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