Dems Hold Up Human Trafficking Bill in Fight Over Abortion Language

A bill to combat human trafficking was supposed to be a major bipartisan achievement — instead it’s devolved into a bitter fight over abortion, with Democrats objecting to language that would prevent spending federal funds for the procedure and Republicans saying it’s the same provision Democrats have accepted dozens of times before.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, who just a few days ago praised the GOP for the bill and said his Democratic troops were on board, vowed Wednesday to block the legislation until the abortion language is stripped.

“We can debate how it’s in the bill. Some said by sleight of hand, some said Democratic staff should have seen it was in there. It’s in there and has to go out,” the Nevada Democrat said. “Unless that language is taken out of the bill, there will be no bill. We cannot have this legislation hijacked by an abortion issue.”

Republicans said they filed the bill several weeks ago, and it cleared committee without any objections, so it is disingenuous for Democrats to object now. They accused Democrats of being beholden to pro-choice groups who only recently registered their complaints, forcing the about-face.