Tester Blocking Anti-Human Trafficking Bill in Senate?

Aaron Flint posted on March 19, 2015 14:45 :: 715 Views

The Montana GOP is targeting Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), the chairman of Senate Democrats’ fundraising arm, for blocking a provision aimed at cracking down on human trafficking. 

From the Montana GOP:

For the fifth time this week, Senator Tester blocked legislation that would help victims of human trafficking.

His excuse? Tester is standing with his Democrat colleagues who say provisions within the bill that ban taxpayer funded abortions were added without their knowledge.

The irony? Tester has repeatedly voted for the language he now opposes. 

Even if Democrats like Tester had not previously voted for bills that contained Hyde Amendment provisions, the AP points out that Democrats knew about the provision inside of the human trafficking legislation.

AP- Senate Democrat’s office: Aide knew of abortion provision

Senate Democrats blocked debate on stalled human trafficking legislation for a second day Wednesday as a Democratic senator’s office belatedly conceded that a staff aide knew weeks ago that the measure included a controversial abortion-related provision.

Democrats have said for more than a week that their side of the aisle was not aware of the provision until a few days ago, nearly two months after the legislation was made public and long after a bipartisan vote in the Judiciary Committee on Feb. 24.

But Julia Krahe, a spokeswoman for Sen. Amy Klobuchar, said an aide to the Minnesota Democrat “had seen the language” relating to abortion before the committee voted.

Attorney General Tim Fox (R-MT), separately, called on all US Senators to support the human trafficking legislation earlier Thursday:

“Human trafficking is modern-day slavery. It exists in the shadows, outside the view of everyday life for most people. Yet the problem is real, and the damage profound. It’s estimated that, every year, as many as 100,000 children are trafficked in the sex trade in the U.S. Fifty-five percent of the world’s child pornography comes from the U.S. These things even happen right here in Montana. The U.S. Senate is considering important legislation that would help victims rebuild their lives and move forward as free human beings. On behalf of human trafficking victims, I urge all U.S. Senators to put politics aside support this legislation now. The filibuster must end. The victims of human trafficking cry out for justice and for help, and S187 is an important step in answering their pleas.”

Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) also released this statement: 

“Montanans know firsthand the immeasurable damage that human trafficking has inflicted on our communities, our schools, and most of all, the victims of these horrific crimes. We also know the importance of coming together to support the victims of this modern-day slavery,” Daines stated. “That’s why I can’t understand why some Senate Democrats are obstructing this bipartisan, broadly supported bill. It’s unconscionable that anyone would rather place political games above abolishing human trafficking and securing long-overdue justice for thousands of victims. It’s time for Democrats to put politics aside and do what’s right for the victims of human trafficking.”

Daines serves as a cosponsor of S. 178, the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, which was passed last month by the Senate Judiciary Committee with a 19-0 vote. In recent weeks, some Senate Democrats have blocked numerous efforts to move forward consideration or amend the bipartisan bill.

Senator Tester is also being targeted over the president’s nuclear deal with Iran. 

The Washington Post: Who are the weak links on Iran?

The 2-million-member-strong Christians United for Israel has decided to do something about the remarkable turn of events. Last week CUFI issued an action alert that generated more than 71,000 emails to senators in support of the Corker-Menendez Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 (S.615) that would seek to guarantee an up or down vote on a final deal. In a news release, CUFI founder and chairman Pastor John Hagee declared, “It is unconscionable that the President would consider signing a deal of this import without Congressional approval. Congress is the voice of the people, and the massive response to this action alert makes clear that on Iran, the people want their voice heard.”

On Monday CUFI placed ads in the New York Post and Billings Gazette (Montana), calling upon Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.), respectively, to support this bill. The ads politically called on the pols to “stay strong”:

    We appreciate your support for economic sanctions on Iran. This is exactly the kind of strong leadership that brought the Iranians to the negotiating table in the first place. But your work is not yet done. Now you need to ensure that any deal reached at this negotiating table will actually make us more secure. Every major arms-control agreement in recent history has been submitted to Congress for approval. A deal with Iran should be no different. Since the President is seeking to bypass Congress, the time has come for Congress to act.

Meanwhile, here’s an interesting read on Tester’s former Chief of Staff who is now heading up the DSCC.

Roll Call: Lopach Leads March Toward Democratic Senate Majority

Smoke billowed out of Ted Kennedy’s living room fireplace as donors gathered in his D.C. home for a fundraiser, though the legendary senator was still on the Hill for votes.

But that wasn’t too much for Tom Lopach.

As executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Lopach is at the helm of a $150 million-plus organization responsible for leading Democrats back to the majority.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *