Home

Senate Reaches Trafficking Deal, Teeing Up Loretta Lynch Confirmation (Updated) (Video)

McConnell, left, announced a deal on the Senate floor during his opening remarks Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 10:41 a.m. | Loretta Lynch can expect to be confirmed as the next attorney general within a day or two after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced a deal on a sex trafficking bill that had been tied up in abortion politics for weeks.  

"There have been good-faith negotiations to resolve the impasse that has prevented the Senate from moving forward on this bill," McConnell said Tuesday. "And now, I’m glad we can say there is a bipartisan proposal that will allow us to complete action on this important legislation so we can provide help to the victims who desperately need it."  

“As soon as we finish the trafficking bill, as I’ve indicated for some time now, we'll move to the president's nominee for attorney general—hopefully in the next day or so," he said.  

The deal would prevent any money in the bill from going toward abortions not covered by the longstanding Hyde restrictions, but appears to do so without actually mentioning abortion. Instead, money from criminal fines will be prohibited from being spent on health care at all. And money for health services for victims will come from already appropriated money, which is already subject to Hyde.  

After the weekslong impasse, Senate negotiators figured out how to do what seemed impossible: reach an agreement that both parties could accept on abortion-related language in an anti-trafficking bill.  

Sources familiar with the talks said Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington led the negotiations that ultimately led to the agreement.  

“I’m thrilled we were finally able to come together to break the impasse over this vital legislation, and I look forward to swift passage in the Senate so we can ensure victims of human trafficking receive the resources they need to restore their lives," Cornyn said in a statement.  

A Senate Democratic aide noted that by getting trafficking victims access to community health center funding, survivors will get more help than they would have under the original bill.  

"We started this fight against a bill that applied Hyde to non-taxpayer dollars for the first time, and brought in no real money for trafficking survivors," said a Senate Democratic aide.  

"We’re now in a much better place."  

Steven T. Dennis contributed to this report. Related: Loretta Lynch's Republican Backers Holding Firm Sharpton: Lynch Delay Is 'an Insult to Every American' Loretta Lynch: From ‘Back of the Bus’ to ‘Sacrificial Lamb’ Republican Opposition to Lynch Might Make History The 114th: CQ Roll Call's Guide to the New Congress Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.