The Senate could move on a long-debated human trafficking bill and then take up Loretta Lynch’s nomination for Attorney General this week, members tell CNN.
Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) sounded cautiously optimistic that the Lynch nomination would be addressed this week in an interview with the network Monday.
Over the weekend, Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) also hinted that the Senate is close to addressing the Loretta Lynch standoff sometime this week.
“My sense is over the next 48 to 72 hours that is going to be resolved, and we’ll move on to this Iran issue,” Corker stated on CNN’s State of the Union.
President Obama nominated Lynch last November to replace Attorney General Eric Holder. Obama seems frustrated that the Senate hasn’t voted on the nomination.
“Call Loretta Lynch for a vote. Get her confirmed. Put her in place. Let her do her job. This is embarrassing, a process like this,” Obama declared in a press conference Friday.
Last month, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) insisted he wouldn’t hold a vote on the confirmation until the Senate passes an anti-human trafficking bill. McConnell said he would bring that bill up for a vote sometime this week.
“The Senate should pass this bipartisan bill right away,” McConnell said. “And as soon as that happens, we’ll turn to the Loretta Lynch nomination.” Democrats say they reject the trafficking bill over controversial abortion language, although it once had 13 Democrat co-sponsors and sailed through the Judiciary Committee with virtually no opposition.
Corker said the human trafficking bill and Lynch’s vote could be “resolved in the early part of this week.”
Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) also said he is “hopeful it will be up this week… This is a critically important position to have a confirmed attorney general that the president has nominated,” Cardin said. “I think it’s outrageous, it should have been done well before now, and it shouldn’t be connected to any other issue.”
Monday Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) called on Senate Democrats to put aside partisan politics on the human trafficking bill. He noted it has been almost three months since the House of Representatives passed twelve bills to combat the ongoing issue of human trafficking. Cramer cosponsored six of the bills.
“It appalls me to see Senate Democrats putting their insistence on federal funding for abortions ahead of protecting exploited girls and women. It makes me wonder who Harry Reid is really protecting,” Cramer said.
He continued, “As majority leader the last four years, Harry Reid stonewalled several pieces of legislation which could have saved young girls and women from the flourishing sex slave trade. Now twelve bills, passed by an average of 99 percent in the U.S. House to combat this epidemic, fall victim to another Senate Democrats’ filibuster while thousands of girls fall victim to the pimps and sex traffickers.”
As a $32-billion-a-year industry, human trafficking is the second most profitable crime – international drug trafficking being number one. According to the Department of Homeland Security, there are more than 20 million victims of human trafficking worldwide.