Here’s the short answer: Anything.
If you can’t even move a bill creating a fund for the victims of sex trafficking, and if the president’s noncontroversial and, indeed, much praised nominee for attorney general isn’t moving forward as a result, then you can pretty much conclude that Congress is poised to accomplish less than nothing, and any talk about bipartisan agreement is nothing but partisan blather.
The bill is pretty simple and has been languishing for some time despite what appeared to be bipartisan support. It would take fees and funds collected from sex traffickers and create a fund to help cover the costs faced by the injured and abandoned victims. How could this be controversial?
In this Congress, easy.
When the bill showed up on the floor on Tuesday, it included a new provision that would prohibit the use of any of the funds to finance abortions for the trafficking victims. Rather than recognize the abuse these women have suffered and respect their right to autonomy, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and his colleagues would deny this fundamental right even to the victims of sex trafficking. How cruel can you be?
But this isn’t about decency and humanity. Forget about the victims of sex trafficking when you’re dealing with the petty despots of the United States Senate, who will reduce themselves to playing politics even with the victims of sex trafficking. Shame.
Meanwhile, just to add to the ugliness, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, well known for his tirade against Ashley Judd (McConnell was recorded making it clear that he would use her sexual victimization against her if she had the audacity to run against him for Senate), has vowed to hold up the confirmation vote on Loretta Lynch, a career prosecutor and public servant with no partisan vulnerabilities except that she was nominated by a Democrat.
What kindergarten do these children attend? Did no one teach them any fundamental rules of dignity and respect? Using the victims of sex trafficking as pawns in partisan playground battles is simply inexcusable. Victimized once by cruel traffickers, how can senators ignore that what they are doing is nothing less than victimizing them again?
At least some members of the Republican Party have come to realize that their extreme positions on social issues — including abortion — are hurting the party more than helping it. At least two would-be senators in recent elections self-destructed because of their gross insensitivity to the victims of rape. And yet, it seems, they never learn.
Do Republicans really mean to force a woman who was trafficked to carry to term the child of the man who ravaged and abused her? And then they complain when Democrats call it a “war against women.” What else would you call it?
In the meantime, as Hillary Clinton pointed out in one of her latest tweets, the Republicans are delaying confirmation of the first African-American woman to be named attorney general for reasons having nothing to do with her qualifications.
“Enough is enough,” Democratic Sen. Patty Murray declared of the current situation.