After Senate Democrats blocked consideration of a human trafficking bill Tuesday, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) again said the Senate would not take up the confirmation of attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch until the bill passes.
“I’ve said all along I thought the President’s nominee for attorney general is entitled to be considered on the Senate floor and she will be considered just as soon as we finish this very important bill,” McConnell reiterated to reporters Tuesday afternoon.
McConnell said Democrats can continue to block the bill, but he will give them a number of opportunities to vote.
“They’re in a position to prevent us from going forward on the bill if they choose to lock arms and do that but I’m going to give them a chance to do that on repetitious occasions this week,” he added.
A issue for Senate Democrats is language in the bill restricting funding for abortion, a factor that Republicans charge is disingenuous.
Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) called out the names of Democratic senators who did not vote for cloture on the bill even though they supported it in committee and charged that they are “siding with lobbyists rather than the victims of human trafficking.”
“To take this legislation hostage, that will provide a means of rescue, healing and return to a productive life for the 100,000 children who are sex trafficked in America is just as reprehensible as I can imagine,” Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) told reporters. He stressed that all that’s needed is two more Democratic senators to join with Republicans and four Democrats to get on the bill and pass it.
Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) argued that Democrats simply do not want to take real votes.
“Harry Reid and his Democratic caucus don’t like to get to the bills and vote on amendments because they are afraid to show their hands to the voters,” Wicker said.
Meanwhile Senate Democrats chided Republicans for continuing to delay Lynch’s confirmation vote and making abortion an issue in the trafficking bill.
Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) called on Republicans to take up the Lynch nomination while the Senate continues to hash out an agreement on the trafficking bill.
“Democrats are fully committed to voting for Lynch’s nomination and then returning immediately to the human trafficking bill. We can do two things at once you know,” Reid said.
The Democratic leader then went on to defend the president’s attorney general nominee by reading quotes extolling Lynch’s qualifications from Fox News hosts Meygn Kelly and “Man about Fox News” Bill O’Reilly.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) highlighted Lynch’s long wait for a confirmation vote and returned to the Democratic meme of accusing Republicans of waging a war on women in regard to the human trafficking abortion language and the “indefinite” delay in Lynch’s nomination.
“It’s time for the delay on Loretta Lynch to end, the Republicans ought to start governing, they ought to realize they’re in the majority, not the minority, and it’s time for them to stop obstructing themselves and move forward,” added Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY).