This week was supposed to feature a seemingly rare display of true bipartisanship on the Senate Floor. Senator John Cornyn’s (R-TX) Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (S.178) received praise and co-sponsorship from Senators on both sides of the aisle and sailed unanimously through the Judiciary Committee two weeks ago. As recently as Monday, leaders of both parties continued to express support. However, on Tuesday, Senate Democrat leaders changed their tune. While the federal government paying for abortion is an idea that has been rejected by Congress for decades, Senate Democrats suddenly decided to express objection to a provision in the anti-trafficking bill that would continue that policy. Indeed, they decided to filibuster any further movement on the bill, even though they could very easily call for a vote to strike the language they disliked. One must assume that the Democrat leaders did not think they could convince a majority of Senators that the government should fund abortions. The final fate of the bill remains unclear. If this impasse is resolved, it still remains to be seen how the Senate will deal with a possible amendment (highlighted in an article last week) that could endanger the work of religious ministries working with the federal government to aid runaway youth and others in need. A number of faith organizations, including NRB, have expressed concern to Senate offices about that potential language.
By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations
Published: March 13, 2015