Senate Democrats Will Get Another Chance to Help Victims of Modern-Day Slavery
‘We invite every Democrat to help us write a happy ending to this story: where the forces of hope and humanity, not powerful lobbyists, prevail.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor today regarding Senate Democrats’ filibuster of a bill intended to stop human trafficking:
“It’s hard to believe what we saw yesterday.
“Democrats actually filibustered a bill to help victims of modern slavery, apparently because left-wing lobbyists told them to.
“Yes, their historic mistake is callous and extreme. But more than that, it’s tragic.
“I mentioned the story of Melissa yesterday.
“Melissa was sold into sexual slavery before she’d even become a teenager.
“She still bears the scars of her years of torment: the beatings, the shackling, the emotional cruelty.
“And when Melissa finally escaped, she wasn’t embraced as a victim—she was branded as a criminal.
“Melissa’s story is heart-breaking. But it’s anything but unique.
“Stories like hers remind us how important the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act is.
“Stories like hers remind us that no excuse about not reading a bill — and no command from left-wing lobbyists — could justify filibustering the critical help this human-rights bill would provide.
“So we haven’t given up on the thousands of victims in this country who suffer like Melissa did.
“Shaken and shackled, but still hanging onto hope.
“Democrats owe these victims, not lobbyists, help — help the Senate is now so close to passing.
“A strong majority of the Senate—including several Democrats—has already voted in favor of this human-rights bill. Now, all it will take is a few more Democrats of courage to ignore the lobbyists and do what’s right. All that will mean is that the Democrats on the Judiciary Committee supporting the very same bill they’d voted for just a few weeks earlier.
“Apparently, all of these Senators were for this human-rights bill, before they were against it.
“And it’s not like the bipartisan provision now suddenly in question is anything new. As the Congressional Research Service notes, bipartisan provisions like this one ‘have been enacted in a variety of contexts since 1970,’ appearing in authorizing legislation as diverse as the State Children's Health Insurance Program, the Legal Services Corporation Act, the Department of Defense Authorization Act, the Foreign Assistance Act, and others.
“That’s why the distinguished Democratic Leader had been such a strong supporter of the bipartisan Hyde provision for so many years, and why he said this during his tenure as Majority Leader:
‘My belief in the sanctity of life is why I have repeatedly voted against using taxpayer money for abortions.’
“That is the declared view of the Democratic Leader. It’s what he said just a few short years ago—before he and his party voted to filibuster a bill that would help the victims of modern slavery.
“So, this afternoon, we invite Democrats to ignore the lobbyists and do the right thing.
“We invite every Democrat to help us write a happy ending to this story: where the forces of hope and humanity, not powerful lobbyists, prevail.”
Related Issues: Combating Sex Trafficking, Senate Democrats, Defending Life