Senate Democrats are not caving to Mitch McConnell’s pressure tactics. Democrats have blocked a human trafficking bill that contains controversial abortion language for a second straight day.
The final vote was 57-41, and motion to reconsider failed.
Before the vote, McConnell tod Senate Democrats to do the right thing by betraying their own values, “That’s why the distinguished Democratic Leader had been such a strong supporter of the bipartisan Hyde provision for so many years, and why he said this during his tenure as Majority Leader: My belief in the sanctity of life is why I have repeatedly voted against using taxpayer money for abortions.’ That is the declared view of the Democratic Leader. It’s what he said just a few short years ago—before he and his party voted to filibuster a bill that would help the victims of modern slavery. So, this afternoon, we invite Democrats to ignore the lobbyists and do the right thing. We invite every Democrat to help us write a happy ending to this story: where the forces of hope and humanity, not powerful lobbyists, prevail.”
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) offered McConnell a way out of the mess that that Senate Republican created, “Instead of being bogged down in another Republican contrived legislative fight, I propose a path forward. It’s simple and direct. While we work towards an agreement to pass trafficking legislation—and there’s work being done on that as we speak—we should move to the executive calendar and consider the nomination of Loretta Lynch. Democrats are fully committed to voting for Lynch’s nomination and returning immediately to the trafficking bill. We can do two things at once. I am disappointed that with all the work the Senate needs to accomplish, the Majority Leader is bound and determined to waste the rest of this week with political show votes. Loretta Lynch has already waited 130 days. There’s no reason to delay her confirmation another minute. We can vote for her confirmation right now and immediately move back to the trafficking bill.”
McConnell is spinning his wheels while achieving nothing. Democrats aren’t going to allow the bill to move forward as long as the abortion language is included. Sen. McConnell thinks that he is turning up the pressure on Democrats by forcing them to vote no on the same bill repeatedly, but what he is really accomplishing is an affirmation of the Democrats’ power in the Senate.
There is tone deaf element to McConnell’s strategy. There could have been lots of legislation moving through the Senate if McConnell weren’t so intent on proving his power. McConnell refuses to meet Democrats in the middle, which is why nothing is getting done. Democrats aren’t going to support legislation that has ideological poison pills attached to it.
Senate Democrats are owning Mitch McConnell, who has proven himself to be a reactive Majority Leader. McConnell isn’t going to be able to hold up the final vote on the Loretta Lynch nomination forever. Democrats know that by holding strong they will win this fight too.
Republicans may hold a majority of the seats in the Senate, but the real power rests with the Democrats.