WASHINGTON -- A package of bills aimed at helping sex trafficking victims passed the House Tuesday and now heads to President Barack Obama's desk.
GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen and Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar were both original sponsors of a part of the package -- a proposal that ensured victims are not prosecuted as defendents.
Though the batch of bills was largely noncontroversial and unanimously supported by the Minnesota delegation, the legislation wasn't without drama in the U.S. Senate over the last several months..
In March, Democrats asserted that Republicans slipped in language that prohibits trafficking victims from obtaining abortions or emergency contraception with federal tax dollars.
Democatic Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken maintained they didn't see the language until after they already voted for it in committee. Klobuchar's office acknowledged one of her aides knew about the abortion language but failed to tell the senator about it. The partisan stalemate brought the entire Senate to a standstill for several weeks. Klobuchar, at one point, read a couple chapters of a book on the Senate floor about human trafficking.
A compromise was eventually reached by creating two pots of money for human trafficking victims, one had abortion restrictions on it and the other did not.
"The cumulative action taken by Congress today stands as a landmark in the fight against this awful crime," Paulsen said, in a statement Tuesday.
"This law will tackle sex trafficking head-on while ensuring that victims receive the support they need and deserve," Klobuchar said, in a statement.
Obama is expected to sign the legislation.