President Barack Obama inserted himself into the Senate human trafficking fight Friday, demanding a confirmation vote for Loretta Lynch as attorney general, which Democrats are holding up by blocking a human trafficking bill over standard abortion funding language.
“I have to say that there are times where, that the dysfunction in the Senate just goes too far,” Obama said at a press conference. “This is an example of it. It has gone too far. Enough.”
“Enough,” he continued, in an increasingly stern tone. “Call Loretta lynch for a vote. Get her confirmed. Put her in place. Let her do her job. This is embarrassing, a process like this.”
After unanimously voting the bill intended to help human trafficking victims out of committee, Senate Democrats abruptly reversed course and are blocking the bill over abortion funding language they failed to notice until the bill reached the floor.
In response, McConnell is delaying a confirmation vote for Lynch, who is Obama’s nominee to replace Attorney General Eric Holder– until Democrats allow a vote on the bill. (RELATED: Democrats Pick Abortion Fight Over Sex Trafficking Victims)
The language at issue bans federal funding of abortion, except in cases of rape, incest and life of the mother, and has been added to bills for decades, including Obamacare. But Democrats argue it’s an expansion of abortion restrictions in this case, because the funds in this bill are not taxpayer dollars, but fines that would be collected from human trafficking perpetrators.
Obama acknowledged the “outbreaks” of bipartisanship in Congress this week, such as the Medicare “doc-fix” bill he plans to sign into law, but lamented the “crazy situation” with Lynch. That outbreak will add an estimated $141 billion to the deficit over the next 20 years.
She’s been waiting for a vote longer than the previous seven attorney general nominees combined, he said. “And there is no reason for it. Nobody can describe a reason for it beyond political gamesmanship in the Senate. On an issue that is completely unrelated to her.”
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