McConnell on Lynch Nomination: Vote on Human Trafficking Bill Comes First

By Penny Starr | April 15, 2015 | 10:43am EDT

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) spoke at a press conference on April 14, 2015 at the U.S. Capitol. (CNSNews.com/Penny Starr)

(CNSNews.com) – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Tuesday that voting will take place this week on the Senate Bill 178, the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015, before President Barack Obama’s nominee for attorney general, Loretta Lynch, will be considered.

“This needs to stop,” McConnell said of Democrats blocking the bill. “This ridiculous fight over language that they’ve already voted for frequently in the past really needs to stop so we can move forward with this very important human trafficking bill.

“This is no minor issue, and once we do that, then we’ll move on to consider the president’s nominee for Attorney General,” McConnell said.

Obama nominated Lynch, who is currently the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, to replace outgoing AG Eric Holder.

The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015 (S.178) prohibits funds designated for helping victims of trafficking to be used for abortion except under certain circumstances.

“The bill prohibits the use of amounts from the Fund for any abortion or for health benefits coverage that includes coverage of abortion, except where the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest or the woman's life is in danger unless an abortion is performed, and requires the transfer of all unobligated balances in the Fund to the Crime Victims Fund established under the Victims of Crime Act of 1984,” the bill’s text states.

McConnell made his remarks at a press conference about reforming the U.S. tax code and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on the eve of the deadline for filing state and federal income taxes. McConnell was asked by a reporter if the Senate would take up the bills discussed at the press conference this week.

“We’ve got a pretty busy schedule here for the week,” McConnell said. “The timing of other issues remains to be seen, but we are hoping this week to go forward with the Doc Fix [HR 1470 to reformulate how Medicare reimburses physicians and other providers] that was passed overwhelmingly by the House.

The Senate passed the Doc Fix bill Tuesday in a vote of 92 to 8.

“We’re hoping to finally clear the trafficking bill, which has been hung up by the minority for a month, and then move on to the consideration of the president’s nominee for attorney general,” McConnell said.

CNSNews.com then asked McConnell: “What kind of abortion language will be in the trafficking bill in its final [form]?”

“Well, it’s going to have to be worked out,” McConnell said. “The language that was in the bill all the Democrats voted for in December -- same language that was in the so-called Cromnibus in December.

“Democrats overwhelmingly just voted for this Doc Fix in the House a couple weeks ago with similar language in it,” McConnell said.

“This needs to stop,” McConnell said. “This ridiculous fight over language that they’ve already voted for frequently in the past really needs to stop so we can move forward with this very important human trafficking bill.

“This is no minor issue, and once we do that, then we’ll move on to consider the president’s nominee for attorney general,” McConnell said.

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