Thursday, April 23, 2015

Trafficking legislation passes U.S. Senate without abortion funding after Democrats finally end disgraceful filibuster

After spending a month attempting to allow federal funds to be used to pay for elective abortions, Senate Democrats agreed to end their filibuster of the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act and allow a vote on the legislation. The agreement prevents federal funds for being used to pay for abortions and retains Hyde Amendment language in the legislation. 

Democrats repeatedly blocked an earlier version of the proposal, arguing it would create an expansion of the Hyde Amendment, which restricts the use of federal funds for abortions.
The deal that resolved the stalemate requires money for the victims’ fund to come from two sources: criminal fines and money that Congress previously appropriated.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) touted the vote as a win for Republicans and anti-abortion groups, saying that under the agreement, the trafficking legislation “won’t violate longstanding, bipartisan Hyde precedent.”

Republicans also shot down a last-ditch effort by Democrats to strip the abortion provisions from the legislation, which if successful would likely have killed the bill.