CRS Debunks Senate Democrats’ Rationale for Filibustering Anti-Slavery Legislation

WASHINGTON, D.C.U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor calling on Senate Democrats to end their filibuster of bipartisan anti-trafficking legislation:

“Human trafficking affects every state in this nation.

“In Kentucky, we’ve heard reports of victims as young as 2 months old…
“We’ve heard about a Kentuckian who said she was sold for sex from the age of 5 until she was able to physically break free as an adult.

“Stories like these may shock the conscience, but they’re hardly unique in our country.

“The Judiciary Committee recently heard the story of Aviva, who was barely a teenager when she was kidnapped and forced into modern slavery.

“Aviva was sold to as many as ten different men a night.

“Freedom stolen from her. Innocence ripped away. Aviva’s trafficker tried to stamp out everything that made Aviva, Aviva.

“Aviva even forgot what it felt like to be human anymore.

“Democrats had said they were in favor of helping victims like her.

“Democrats had demanded I bring the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act to the floor.

“But now that that very legislation is here on the floor, Democrats seem to have changed their tune completely.

“Now that Democrats have a chance to actually help victims, they’ve decided they’re more concerned about a few sentences in the bill — a provision they seemed perfectly fine with until just recently — than actually solving the problem the bill would address.

“It’s a provision that’s been included in countless bills they’ve voted for and co-sponsored. It’s language they were perfectly happy endorsing again in another bill this week — but that bill was designed to help doctors, not children enslaved by sex traffickers.

“Do Democrats think doctors are worthy of their help, but not victims of modern slavery?

“The ‘rationale’ for this filibuster seems to shift by the day, and it’s almost completely incomprehensible.

“Their foremost concern seems to be about treating this specific kind of money this way, versus treating that specific kind of money that way — focusing all their attention not on the victims of these crimes, but on financial assessments levied from the people who perpetrate them: traffickers.

“Honestly, I’m not sure why anyone would think money collected from criminals ought to get more consideration than money collected from law-abiding taxpayers.

“But this is where Democrats have planted their flag.

“Their contention is essentially that the victims of trafficking should get no help at all because Democrats say the money they’d receive might be considered, quote, ‘private’ — and that this bill should not pass therefore, because the bipartisan Hyde principles it contains might apply to those ‘private’ funds.

“If that argument sounds contrived and illogical to you, you’re not alone.

“And now we find out, it’s not even true.

“Let me repeat that: The very heart of Democrats’ argument isn’t even true. That’s what the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service told us just yesterday.

“I would ask all my friends on the other side to listen to this closely.

“CRS answered some very straightforward questions posed by the Senior Senator from Texas, and here’s what it concluded: Money deposited into the General Treasury from traffickers, as the Cornyn amendment requires, is federal money.

“Let me repeat: Democrats have been blocking an anti-slavery bill over money they’ve called ‘private’ — and they’re not even correct.

“Our Democratic colleagues have also blocked this bill because they say Hyde has only applied to ‘annual’ spending or appropriations, not ‘mandatory’ spending. 

“It’s another argument that Congressional Research Service tells us is not true.

“The experts at CRS say Hyde has applied to mandatory spending of federal funds out of the General Treasury, as the Cornyn amendment provides. And CRS concludes that Hyde just applied to mandatory spending in the very “doc fix” bill that 100% of Senate Democrats voted for on Tuesday.

“I ask unanimous consent that this CRS memorandum be included in the Record at the end of my remarks.

“And I ask my Democratic friends to now stop, take a breath, and think.

“Children are being sold into sexual slavery, having their freedom and self-respect ripped away.

“Will they finally allow the Senate to help them, or will they continue some debunked crusade?

“We’ve offered several compromises to address the concerns they’ve raised. We’ll soon vote on another one Senator Cornyn offered.  And the findings of the CRS make it clear that we are doing nothing extraordinary here.  We are simply applying long-accepted principles that Americans overwhelmingly support.

“Most people would say that sounds pretty reasonable.

“So it’s time to get serious.

“A large, bipartisan majority of the Senate has already voted repeatedly to approve this bill.

“And with the support of a couple more courageous Democrats, we can bring an end to this debunked filibuster today.

“The victims who’ve survived brutal abuse don’t need more of our friends’ illogical contortions and justifications, they just need help.

“They need the help the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act would provide.

“Let’s work together to finally give it to them.”

Related Issues: Defending Life, Combating Sex Trafficking, Senate Democrats