The partisan gridlock shows no sign of easing as the U.S. Senate returns this week to a familiar fight over abortion and Loretta Lynch's long-stalled confirmation to be Attorney General, Politico reports. Both sides are confident they have the upper hand, and neither party wants to relent in a fight over abortion ahead of next year’s elections. Republicans believe it's only a matter of time before Democrats accept a provision in an anti-human trafficking bill that would put restrictions on abortion funding. The Senate also must vote for a Medicare payments package that includes similar abortion limits. Democrats say muddying a noncontroversial trafficking bill with abortion politics, and stymying Lynch's confirmation, is a political loser for Republicans.
The opposing sides made no apparent progress toward a compromise during the two-week congressional recess. “We need to stop trafficking and the Hyde provision is absolutely antithetical to the goal of anti-trafficking,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), referring to the so-called Hyde Amendment, which bans federal funding for abortions and that Democrats say is broadened in the trafficking bill. Lynch's nomination has been pending for more than five months since President Obama picked her to succeed Eric Holder. It is the longest wait for an attorney general nominee since 1985, when Ed Meese was confirmed as President Ronald Reagan's pick more than a year after he was nominated.