After the Senate failed to pass a bill on Tuesday that would provide help for victims of sex trafficking and allocate more resources to police working on trafficking crimes, many people were furious with the Senate, including many members of the Senate themselves. One person who expressed his anger rather publicly — and hilariously, of course — was Jon Stewart. On The Daily Show Tuesday night, Stewart blasted the Senate for failing to pass the sex trafficking bill, which is essentially unquestionable.
The reason the bill was stalled? According to Stewart, "f*ckery" and "dumbassery" on both sides of the aisle: a few months ago, Republicans added language to the bill that prohibited federal funds from paying for any abortions for the victims. But Democrats didn't notice the addition until yesterday because — wait for it — they didn't read the bill all the way through before voting for it originally in committee.
Now, the bill, which initially had the support of a majority of lawmakers, is in jeopardy because of an effort by Republicans to create a precedent blocking federal funding for abortions. To make things worse, Republicans said they would not vote on the confirmation of President Obama's nominee for attorney general, Loretta Lynch, until the sex trafficking bill is resolved. And Jon Stewart isn't having any of it. Here's the clip that aired Tuesday night:
In the segment, Stewart hosts a fictional C-SPAN 2 show called Hatewatch, in which he basically hate-watches the news (or lack thereof) about Congress.
On hearing of the Senate's failure to pass the bill, Stewart solemnly says:
So it appears the Senate is stuck on a bill I'm sure every American who's not actively involved in trafficking humans for sex would support.
After unanimously voting the bill through committee, Democrats are fighting Hyde Amendment language that they claim Republicans snuck in after the vote. The Hyde Amendment generally prohibits Medicaid from using taxpayer money to fund abortions.
Ah, yes, the Hyde Amendment! Named for the action that Republicans apparently have to take to get the anti-abortion language into all bills. 'Let's hide it over here, let's hide it over here.' The Hyde Amendment blocks the use of federal funding for abortions. Because just because a procedure is completely legal doesn't mean it has to be treated that way.
Stewart continues to say that what's happened here is evidently "what we here at C-SPAN 2 call [Republican] f*ckery."
So how did the bill make it past committee if it contained this language, which Democrats would have shut down? Well as it turns out, when Democrats initially passed the bill, they didn't read it fully. This, Stewart says, is "dumbassery," and it's hard to argue with him.
You didn't read it fully? What, did you just skim it to see if your name was mentioned?
Stewart shows footage of Democrat Harry Reid explaining the mistake:
We didn't know it was in the bill. You can blame it on staff. Blame it on whoever you want to blame it on.
Stewart bites back:
How about I blame it on you, Harry Reid, the guy in charge of the Senate Democrats, whose last name is literally 'read'? How did you not read this bill?
In order to allow all parties to have a say, Stewart shows footage of Republican majority leader Mitch McConnell making "a disingenuous point" — that we shouldn't "filibuster bipartisan help for vulnerable victims just to make a point for left-wing special interest groups."
In response, Stewart points out:
The only reason the language is in there is because you're bowing down to right-wing special interests. Son of a bitch!
Stewart delves further into the intricacies of the ridiculousness surrounding this bill's failure to pass — in a key moment, he points out the irony that Republicans are using the bill to postpone the vote on Lynch's appointment while insisting that side issues should not sidetrack the bill. When you put all the facts together, Stewart's ultimate summary of the situation is pretty clear.
It appears f*ckery and dumbassery are running neck and neck to stymie the human sex trafficking bill that everyone agrees should be a law.
Images: Comedy Central