Will Presidential Candidates Back McConnell on Human Trafficking?

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (photo credit: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0)
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (photo credit: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0)

In a gratifying show of principle this week, Mitch McConnell has announced that the Senate will not vote on the Democratic nominee for Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, until Democrats stop filibustering a human trafficking bill over taxpayer funding for abortions:

“We’re going to stay on the bill,” McConnell told reporters. “I’ve said all along I thought that the president’s nominee to be attorney general is entitled to be considered on the Senate floor. And she will be considered as soon as we finish this very important bill.”

As I’ve written before, this Hyde Amendment language is popular, and the human trafficking bill is even more popular.  McConnell clearly recognizes that any actions Democrats take to stop this bill will hurt them at the polls, and Democrats know it too (four Democrats from swing states have already broken party ranks to vote for it, knowing that a “nay” vote could very well cost them their jobs).

And yet, even on very favorable ground and with a strategy already showing results, there are signs that some Republicans are looking to remove the Hyde language from the bill, according to Harry Reid:

“There’s work being done to take the abortion language out,” Reid told reporters. “And that impetus is coming from Republicans.”

The idea that Republicans would think to give up on such a winning issue is preposterous on its face, but if true, the Senate needs leadership to keep it from (again) snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.  By my count, there are four prospective 2016 candidates in the upper chamber (Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Lindsey Graham, and Marco Rubio) who could demonstrate their leadership skills to the nation by standing for life and working to solidify the Republican vote for this legislation.  So far, I haven’t heard statements on the bill from any of these four, but when I do, I hope it’s a Presidential one!

Nick Arnold is a researcher for American Principles in Action.