Will Senate Democrats Choose Special Interests over Victims of Human Trafficking?
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor urging Senate Democrats to support bipartisan human rights legislation:
“The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act is one of the most bipartisan pieces of legislation you could imagine.
“Ever since this bipartisan human rights bill was introduced by a Democrat and a Republican in January —and made publicly available for any person to read — members of both parties have sung its praises repeatedly.
“This bipartisan bill gained the support of 13 Democratic cosponsors.
“Recently, Democrats voted unanimously to approve it in Committee.
“This week, Democrats consented unanimously to advance it on the floor.
“Even the Democratic Leader himself said he ‘underscore[d], appreciate[d], and agree[d]’ with my call to pass this bipartisan bill overwhelmingly.
“‘I doubt there will be problems on my side,’ he said. ‘If there are, I will work to clear them.’
“That was Monday.
“By Tuesday, Democrats seemed to be threatening to filibuster human rights legislation for abused and neglected victims and children.
“Let me repeat that.
“Democrats are now threatening to filibuster human rights legislation for abused and neglected victims and children.
“Democrats now say they don’t like language that has been in the bill since it was introduced months ago, and does nothing more than reaffirm the bipartisan law of the land.
“And this bipartisan provision was on page four of this modest-sized bill, so Democrats obviously knew it was in there to begin with. Democrats obviously wouldn’t have cosponsored this bill, or voted for it in committee, or called for its passage on the Senate floor if they hadn’t read the bill first.
“These Democrats surely don't want to see more quotes like this one, from an official with the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women.
“Here’s what she said: ‘Senate Democrats are choosing a phantom problem over real victims.’
“So, if these Democrats keep their word to the victims of human trafficking, then a partisan filibuster attempt will fail overwhelmingly.
“If these Democrats keep their word to the vulnerable and the oppressed, then the Senate will pass a bipartisan human rights bill.
“But if these Democrats truly are having second thoughts about supporting such important human rights legislation, they are free to offer an amendment. But let's not filibuster bipartisan help for vulnerable victims just to make a point for left-wing special interest groups.
“Our Democratic friends have to resist the siren song of their pollsters, who tell them that the path to victory lies in turning bipartisan bills into manufactured fights over cultural issues.
“Americans are looking for statesmen and stateswomen on Democratic side to stand up and help us emancipate the victims of modern slavery, not score another empty political point.
“I’m calling on these Democrats to help us do that.
“Help is almost there for the vulnerable victims of these awful crimes. Surely no left-wing special interest group is more important than fighting modern-day slavery. So the Democratic cosponsors and declared supporters of this bill need to keep working with us in a bipartisan way to ensure help comes.”
Related Issues: Senate Democrats, Defending Life, Combating Sex Trafficking