Prepared Statement by Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa
Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee
Executive Business Meeting
June 29, 2017
Today we have several nominees on the agenda as well as two bills that we’ll be voting on.
The following nominees are on the agenda for the first time and the other side has asked that they be held over this week. So, the following nominees will be held over this week:
John Bush, 6th Circuit
Kevin Newson, 11th Circuit
Damien Schiff, Federal Claims
Today, we’ll vote on Mr. Boyd’s nomination to be Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs. I held over his nomination last time we met because I was waiting for responses from the Department of Justice. I’ve had some productive conversations with Department leadership about this, and have received some good faith responses, so I’m willing to move Mr. Boyd’s nomination out of Committee today.
I understand that the Department is actively working on Senator Durbin’s requests as well. Of course, the Committee is still waiting for and expects full responses to my inquiries, particularly the ones I’ve identified as high priority. And I expect continued cooperation as his nomination moves to the Floor.
The first bill on our agenda is the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2017, S. 1312. It would extend some of the key grant programs that were last authorized under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2013. These programs make resources available so that human trafficking survivors can get the help they need to recover from this terrible crime. Senators Feinstein, Cornyn, Klobuchar, Hatch, Leahy, Crapo, Coons, Tillis, Blumenthal, Corker, Rubio, and Brown are cosponsors.
We worked closely with human trafficking victim advocates on the development of this bill, which calls for specialized training of judges and federal investigators on human trafficking. We also included language to promote training of school personnel on how to respond to potential victims.
The bill requires the FBI to report on the status of its Innocence Lost Initiative, and it calls for other federal agencies to report more crime data to the FBI. The bill also updates the Missing Children’s Assistance Act, which authorizes activities carried out by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Another provision, crafted by Ranking Member Feinstein, gives prosecutors a new tool to use against human traffickers.
Organizations supporting the bill include the National Children’s Alliance, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking, Rights4Girls, Shared Hope International, Polaris, Freedom Networks, ECPAT International, The Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking, the Fraternal Order of Police, National Association of Police Organizations, the National District Attorneys Association, and the National Criminal Justice Association, and the National Criminal Justice Association.
The second bill on our agenda is the Abolish Human Trafficking Act, S. 1311. Senator Cornyn is the lead sponsor, and I’m an original cosponsor. Senators Klobuchar, Feinstein, Coons, Hatch, and others also are cosponsors.
I’ll now turn to Senator Feinstein for her remarks.