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Congress returns from Easter recess, human trafficking bill with local sponsors remains stalled

The U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C.
(via Flickr/Wally Gobetz)

After a two-week Easter recess, legislators are back in Washington, D.C.

“There’s a lot of trying to paint the other guy as the bad guy. There’s a lot of posturing,” St. Louis Public Radio’s Washington, D.C. reporter Jim Howard told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Tuesday.

Even while several candidates have announced they’re running for president in 2015, Howard said that it’s not a distraction; rather it is the main event.

A bill co-sponsored by two local legislators is now stalled.

Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Ballwin) are supporters of legislation aimed at halting human trafficking. However, Democrats don’t want to accept a provision in the bill that includes some restrictions on abortion funding.

“The House bill and the Senate bill are similar but they’re different bills,” Howard said. “The focus is to get at the advertising of sex trafficking. They use the example of Backpage.com.”

Meanwhile, Republicans say they won’t approve President Barack Obama’s nomination of Loretta Lynch for Attorney General until Democrats in the U.S. Senate allow the anti-human trafficking measure that contains the so-called Hyde Amendment to come up for a vote.

“Both sides are accusing the other side of playing hostage with victims of sex trafficking,” Howard said.

St. Louis on the Air discusses issues and concerns facing the St. Louis area. The show is produced by Mary Edwards and Alex Heuer and hosted by veteran journalist Don Marsh. Follow us on Twitter: @STLonAir.

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Alex is the executive producer of "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.