Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On Senate Republicans’ Vote Against Legislation to Protect Runaway and Homeless Youth

The Leahy-Collins Amendment to the anti-trafficking bill was narrowly defeated Wednesday afternoon, in Senate vote of 56 to 43 – four votes short of the 60 votes needed for passage of the Leahy-Collins Amendment.]

“The bill that I introduced with Senator Collins to reauthorize the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act was the amendment we offered today to the trafficking bill that is before the Senate.  It would fill the prevention void in the anti-trafficking legislation, by helping runaway and homeless youths to find safe haven off the streets, where they are preyed upon by traffickers. 

“When we were fighting for passage of Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act two years ago, Senate Republicans wanted us to strip out non-discrimination language and vital protections for native women who far too often are domestic violence victims.  I and an overwhelmingly majority of the Senate voted to keep these important protections in because we knew they provided critical support for those who need it most. Because of what we did in passing a comprehensive Violence Against Women Act, a bipartisan Senate is on record agreeing that those who receive federal funds cannot discriminate on the basis of race, gender or sexual orientation. 

“My Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act includes similar protections for LGBT youth who are vulnerable to becoming walking prey to traffickers, but who can face discrimination when they seek help.  I am encouraged that my amendment received a strong bipartisan vote from a majority of the Senate today, but I am disappointed that the far right of the Republican caucus chose to oppose this critical protection for these highly vulnerable runaway and homeless young people.” 


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