Loretta Lynch, President Obama’s nominee for attorney general, is one step closer to a confirmation vote in the Senate after lawmakers today reached an agreement on a bipartisan human trafficking bill.
Lynch’s confirmation was stalled after Democrats and Republicans disagreed on a provision in the anti-trafficking bill that would prevent a restitution fund for victims—funded by fines on traffickers—from paying for abortions.
Democrats objected to the use of what is known as the “Hyde amendment” in the legislation.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said he wouldn’t schedule a vote on confirming Lynch until the Senate came to terms on the bill.
A vote on Lynch’s nomination is imminent.
During remarks today on the Senate floor, McConnell announced that there have been “good-faith negotiations to resolve the impasse that has prevented the Senate from moving forward on this bill.”
“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,” McConnell said. “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.”
According to the Associated Press, the resolution to the human trafficking dispute was negotiated by Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Patty Murray, D-Wash.
It creates a victim’s fund with two sources of money: one from fines paid by criminals and traffickers that will be used to cover legal fees, and one with funds already appropriated by Congress for Community Health Centers—and already subject to abortion spending restrictions—that would be available for health and medical services.
The resolution over the trafficking bill promises to finally bring clarity on Lynch’s future.
Lynch, if confirmed by the Senate, would be the first African-American woman to be the nation’s top law enforcement official.
Supporters praise Lynch for her role in prosecuting terrorism, civil rights and political corruption over a decorated prosecuting career.
Lynch faces opposition from some conservatives over her support for President Obama’s executive actions on immigration.
But those hurdles are likely to be cleared because, according to Politico, at least five Republican senators already support her confirmation, which needs just a simple majority vote in the Senate.