It appeared that a bipartisan 68-page bill to fight trafficking, sponsored by Texas Sen. John Cornyn, was about to pass the upper chamber of Congress without incident.
But last week, forward progress stopped when Senate Democrats, who until recently supported the measure, said they had just become aware of an abortion-related provision in the bill and would oppose it.
Their surprise is difficult to believe. The bill, introduced by Cornyn and Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore.; Mark Kirk, R-Ill.; and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., has been available online since January.
The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously passed it last month.
The provision to bar criminal fines collected in a trafficking victims’ fund from being used to pay for abortions is similar to existing law.
Democrats are wrong to stymie a bill upon which there is otherwise bipartisan agreement.
But Republican leaders, who have refused to bring President Barack Obama’s nomination of Loretta Lynch for attorney general to the floor until the trafficking bill gets a vote, are also playing politics.
Senators should approve the trafficking bill and Lynch’s nomination.