The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015 enjoyed unanimous bipartisan support when it was passed out of committee with the sponsorship of Senators Cornyn (R, TX) and Klobuchar (D, MN). Senator Klobuchar’s operative principle is “keep your head down” and it has served her well so far.
Nevertheless, something funny happened on the way to passage of the bill in the Senate. As the Wall Street Journal’s Kim Strassel explains: Democrats were suddenly shocked, shocked to discover language in the bill that upholds a prohibition against the federal funding of abortions. Strassel explains:
Yes, it is language that has been in law for 37 years and yes, it was in the bill all along, and yes, Democrats had voted for it unanimously in committee, and yes they had voted for it unanimously last year in an appropriations bill. But Minority Leader Harry Reid needed a reason to balk, and the abortion language had the side benefit of allowing Democrats to revive the Republican “war on women.” They filibustered.
The Washington Post goes into the details in its editorial “Democrats are the new party of no.”
Where does Amy Klobuchar get off sponsoring such outrageous legislation? She is a Democrat who follows the party line promoting the sacramental view of abortion. What happened? She’s in good company, but she’s not talking. So we have this:
It has been unclear why scores of staffers for more than a dozen senators, as well as the minority staff of the Senate Judiciary Committee, didn’t see the language. It was tucked in the bill under a reference to an appropriations bill passed last year. The AP story says a Klobuchar staffer “had seen the language” before the committee voted, but the aide “did not inform the senator.”
Klobuchar told the Star Tribune last week she didn’t know it was in the legislation when she voted for it on the Judiciary Committee in February. [Democratic Minnesota Senator Al] Franken echoed her sentiment, but went farther saying he regretted not seeing the language and regretted his vote for it.
See? She had to vote for the bill to find out what was in it. And to find out what a friend she has in Al when she found out what was in her bill.
There is more, duly recited with a straight face by the Star Tribune:
What’s still unclear [is] why no one else — beyond the unnamed Klobuchar staffer — saw the language.
The staff mess up may explain Klobuchar’s low-key approach to the fight since it started.
Please put that “staff mess up” in scare quotes. And if we’re speculating, I’d say that Senator Klobuchar’s head-down modus operandi is a far better explanation of “Klobuchar’s low-key approach to the fight” than a “staff mess up.”
While other Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and Washington Sen. Patty Murray, have been stomping the halls and making floor speeches about Republicans’ approach to the abortion language, Klobuchar has said nothing.
That’s our Amy!
She is the lead Democrat on the Cornyn bill and her own Safe Harbor bill is being held up in the stalemate as well. Klobuchar has long prominently talked about how important human trafficking legislation is to her agenda. Klobuchar stood on the Senate floor for three hours Thursday and read from the book “Half the Sky” by Nicholas Kristoff about trafficking. She didn’t mention her staff’s blunders.
Again, please put “her staff’s blunders” in scare quotes.
Majority Leader McConnell is holding up a vote on the confirmation of Loretta Lynch as Attorney General while the Democrats mull over their priorities and Senator Klobuchar seeks to determine when it’s safe to raise her head.
Kim Strassel calls Senator McConnell’s tactics here hardball, but this is only a marginal skirmish in the abortion war. Will Senator McConnell play hardball on an issue along the constitutional front such as Obama’s illegal amnesty? Then would know we’re getting somewhere, that we’re putting up a fight. As it is, Senator McConnell has only elicited a comic rendition of the incredible cynicism that keeps the Democrats’ motors running.