There’s a big brouhaha right now in the U. S. Senate over the human trafficking bill.
The spin is: “a warm fuzzy inter-party cooperation is being fractured because those evil pro-lifers are holding hostage a wonderful bill to help the victims of human trafficking.”
That is baloney.
What is really going on is that Minority Leader Harry Reid doesn’t want to admit that Democrats are no longer in charge of the Senate.
It’s Harry Reid partisanship at its worse. He is using the pro-life issue to try to make the new Republican majority look bad. Neither pro-lifers nor anybody else should believe the spin.
Here’s the story:
The bipartisan Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, S. 178, brought forward from the previous Congress, was indeed sailing along very smoothly. It was introduced on January 13, picked up 32 co-sponsors of both parties, and passed the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously on February 26.
It went on the Senate calendar for March 10.
Everybody was remarking how positively cooperative the two parties were being in pursuing this worthy goal.
But wait! All of a sudden, oh my goodness, the Democrats started claiming that they had just awakened from a long snooze and for the first time had actually read the bill. And what should their wondering eyes behold but—gasp!—a totally unacceptable Hyde Amendment lurking in the language of the new bill! Oh, horrors!
So they began a filibuster over it.
That claim doesn’t pass the smell test.
There had been three months to examine the bill, which is only 68 pages long. Even a law- student intern could have checked citations and learned what was in it!
Senate staffers jolly well make sure their bosses know what’s in a bill before it gets voted out of Committee. (Nancy Pelosi’s plea to the House that they had to pass ObamaCare to know what was in it is the exception that proves this rule).
It’s clear that there is something else going on here.
It is possible that Cecile Richards over at Planned Parenthood Action Fund suddenly woke up and saw an opportunity to continue the War on Women meme by pitching a hissy fit—calling the Hyde Amendment language a deal-breaker and threatening dire consequences if her courtiers on Capitol Hill didn’t do her bidding and resist it. That is possible.
What is totally plausible is that Harry Reid doesn’t want to accept that elections have consequences; instead he’s seeking to prove that Republicans cannot govern.
Harmony between the two parties? A spirit of bipartisanship? Legislation that everybody in the business of helping victims of human trafficking wants to see enacted . . . with Republicans getting the credit?
That’s the Democrats’ worst nightmare. So Democratic Senators pretended to be shocked, simply shocked, that the Hyde Amendment is reprised in the human trafficking bill.
When the Minority brought this up on the Senate floor, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell offered them an up-and-down vote right then and there. They could have voted the bill down on the spot if it was so bad.
But they refused. So Republicans offered another substitute package. Again, no dice.
Clearly, the Democrats don’t want to pass this bill. Instead, they want to make Republicans look bad, and they want pro-lifers to get the blame.
What will happen next?
Last Thursday on the Senate Floor, McConnell was passionate in insisting that “we are going to be on this bill until we finish it.”
This week there will be a vote on cloture, to end the filibuster. It will fail, because there are only 54 Republicans and it takes 60 votes to pass cloture.
So the bill, which by all accounts is a good effort to aid victims and boost law enforcement tools in the war against human trafficking—the world’s second-largest criminal industry—will die in the Senate.
Pundits will blame mean-spirited Republicans “held hostage to the pro-life issues.” MSNBC will wax eloquent on the GOP’s loyalty to life issues as evidence that Republicans cannot govern. And on and on it will go.
Pro-lifers: Don’t take the fall on this one. It’s got nothing to do with life issues. Harry Reid is merely using the pro-life issue as a pawn in his chess game.
Memo to Harry Reid: Elections do have consequences. Deal with it.
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Connie Marshner has been a pro-life, pro-family researcher, grassroots trainer, organizer, and lobbyist; manager; writer; homeschooler; editor; campaign adviser; coalition leader; fundraiser; and political strategist. She is absolutely thrilled now to be a blogger for Human Life Review.