Beltway gridlock

Senate finally ready to vote on Loretta Lynch

After more than 5 months of delays and weeks of difficult political negotiations, the Senate has finally cleared the way to vote on the nomination of Loretta Lynch as the next Attorney General on Thursday. Senators reached a compromise on sex trafficking legislation, an unrelated bill that got caught up in the political fight when Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell announced he would not allow a vote on the Lynch nomination until this bill was passed. What first was a bipartisan bill on an issue that everyone could agree on (help sex trafficking victims and punish the perpetrators) became mired in controversy when Democrats became aware of an anti-abortion provision attached to the bill, which would prevent victims from using criminal fines in a victims’ fund to pay for abortions. They were eventually able to reach a compromise, where the fund would essentially be split in two — one pool of money collected from offenders will end up in the Treasury’s general fund and not be subject to abortion restrictions, and the rest of the money will be available for health care and medical services that are subject to longstanding laws restricting the use of federal funds for abortions. Victims would still be able to obtain abortions under the laws’ exception in cases of rape. This “breakthrough” seems to have finally paved the way for a vote on the Loretta Lynch confirmation.

Read the full story at The New York Times.

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