Byline: Cristina Marcos
A bipartisan group of House members are urging their top leaders to allow a floor vote on legislation aimed at curbing human trafficking that passed in the Senate last month.
In a letter to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), eleven lawmakers called for finishing work on an issue supported by both sides.
The bill, S. 178, titled the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, passed 99-0 last month after a dispute over abortion that stretched on for weeks and stalled confirmation of Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
The measure would create a special fund for victims of sex crimes and incorporates language of ten bills passed by the House earlier this year. Those bills include imposing a penalty for knowingly selling advertisements to exploit sex trafficking victims, as well as encouraging states to adopt "safe harbor" laws for trafficked children by giving them preference for federal grants.
"S. 178 presents an opportunity for both chambers to stand together in support of important legislation that helps vulnerable children across America. This legislation also positions the United States as a leader in the fight against modern slavery," the lawmakers, led by Reps. Ted Poe (R-Texas) and Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), wrote.
The letter's signatories included Reps. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), Joe Heck (R-Nev.), Karen Bass (D-Calif.), Mark Walker (R-N.C.), Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), Kristi Noem (R-S.D.), Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio) and Gwen Moore (D-Wis.).