A diverse collective of anti-trafficking advocates is getting its first dose of Washington's hyperpartisan bickering, and it's trying hard not to be sucked in.
As a human-trafficking bill has descended into a debate about abortion in the Senate, a wide array of evangelical groups and left-leaning advocacy organizations who would traditionally be on opposite sides of the debate remain unsplintered.
By now, the more than 200 groups fighting to end sex trafficking had expected to be celebrating the passage of the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, bipartisan legislation that reallocates fines raised by prosecuting pimps and traffickers, and funnels them into a fund for the victims.
But the bill hit a snag last week when Democrats discovered that Republicans included the Hyde Amendment in the legislation, a rider that bans federal funds from paying for abortions except in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother. Democrats say Republicans did not tell them that the change had been made before it was voted out of committee. But Republicans say that the controversial amendment was clearly spelled out for Democrats on the fourth page of the bill.
Democrats now are demanding the language be stripped out, and Republicans—desperate to avoid caving to Democrats once again in their new majority—are not budging, with Republican leadership insisting that the Senate won't move forward on Loretta Lynch's confirmation as attorney general until the fight over the bill is resolved.