A dispute over an anti-abortion clause in human trafficking legislation now before the Senate could further delay the confirmation of attorney general-designate Loretta Lynch, the National Journal
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said Tuesday that he expected to bring Lynch's nomination to the Senate floor for a vote next week. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the nomination last month and Democrats have been pressing for a vote.
Republicans say they will deal with the Lynch nomination after the Senate votes on a bipartisan anti-slavery, anti-human trafficking bill
On Tuesday, Democrats said they had become aware that the bill bars — without mentioning the word "abortion" — the use of fines collected from traffickers to fund abortions or the morning-after pill, The Washington Post
Democrats may have to decide between filibustering the trafficking bill — thus further delaying the attorney general confirmation vote — or letting the Republican majority pass the measure along with the objectionable abortion rider, the Journal reported.
The Democrats complained that the Republicans slyly inserted the unexpected rider in a 68-page piece of legislation. Republicans said that the anti-abortion provision has been there for all to see since Jan. 13 and that the Democratic co-sponsors of the trafficking bill should have noticed it.
Riders — variations of the Hyde Amendment — barring the use of certain federal monies to fund abortion are often tacked on to appropriations bills. Democrats said they were caught off guard since the trafficking bill isn't an appropriations measure.
"Let me be very clear: This bill will not be used as an opportunity for Republicans to double down on their efforts to restrict a woman's healthcare choices," said Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, minority conference secretary.
If confirmed, Lynch would be the first African-American woman to serve as attorney general. Democrats said blocking her nomination indefinitely would harm Republicans politically, according to the Journal.
It will be up to McConnell to decide whether the Senate will move ahead with the Lynch nomination or insist that the trafficking legislation take priority, according to the Journal.
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