NASHVILLE - U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Georgia, was among 20 House Republicans who voted this week against a bill reauthorizing anti-human trafficking programs, including continued funding aimed at stemming child trafficking in the U.S. and abroad.
Tuesday's no vote by the Rome congresswoman, who last April charged Democrats "are the party of pedophiles," came a day after Greene castigated congressional Democrats for what she said was their failure to fight human trafficking on the U.S. border with Mexico, including the trafficking of children.
"How can anyone who voted for Democrats not be offended by this?" she wrote on Twitter on Monday following a Fox News reporter's tweet that federal sources told him there had been more than a half-million "known gotaways at the border" since the beginning of October. "Dems said they care about children in cages [and] migrants, yet migrants are dying everyday, women are raped, and kids are being trafficked.
"All while Dems send $54+ billion to defend Ukraine's border and NOT our own," Greene added.
The legislation, the Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act of 2022, is co-authored by U.S. Reps. Chris Smith, R-New Jersey, and Rep. Karen Bass, D-California. Now that it's passed the House on a bipartisan 401-20 vote, the Senate is expected to take it up.
In a Thursday statement to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, Greene said that "in Congress, bill titles don't always accurately describe what's inside the text.
"This legislation is yet another effort by Democrats to inject their Marxist policies into something that should be bipartisan," she said. "Everyone wants to end human trafficking, but this bill gives preferential treatment to local agencies who work with Big Tech companies.
"These are the same platforms that have been used by human traffickers to commit their heinous crimes," she added. "I want to protect children and stop these abductions, but this $500 million Democrat bill won't do it and only throws money at the problem. If Democrats really cared about ending child trafficking, they would secure the border."
Joining Greene in voting Tuesday against the measure were Georgia Republican U.S. Reps. Andrew Clyde and Jody Hice. The delegation's five other Republicans voted yes on the reauthorization as did the six Democrats.
All seven of Tennessee's Republican representatives, among them U.S. Reps. Chuck Fleischmann of Ooltewah and Scott DesJarlais of Sherwin, voted for the funding, as did Democrats Jim Cooper of Nashville and Steve Cohen of Memphis.
"One of the greatest evils of today is human trafficking," Fleischmann said in a statement. "Far too many innocent people fall victim to modern-day slavery every day and are never heard from again. The federal government has a duty and obligation to protect not only our fellow citizens from being trafficked but to relentlessly pursue the evil criminals who traffic victims into our country. I have supported this bill in the past and am proud to have done so again."
Also in a statement, Smith praised passage of the measure, which also includes other programs addressing human trafficking and brings total spending to $1.1 billion over a five-year period. Smith also sponsored the original legislation in 2020.
"The enormous support in the House for this critical human rights and law enforcement legislation is a testament to a widespread consensus and underscores the absolute urgency for securing the funds needed to protect victims, prosecute perpetrators and prevent trafficking from occurring in the first place," Smith stated.
Smith said the bill also will reauthorize the "amazing work" performed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Angel Watch Center - a project mandated by his 2016 previously passed International Megan's Law.
"The Angel Watch Center has made more than 19,000 notifications of planned travel by convicted sex offenders with more than 7,000 individuals who committed sex crimes against children denied travel, helping to reduce child sex tourism," Smith said.
Among those voting against the legislation was U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Florida, who The New York Times reported last year is under federal investigation over whether Gaetz, a close ally of former President Donald Trump, broke federal sex trafficking laws and whether he had sex with a 17-year-old girl.
Gaetz has denied the allegations and says he was the victim of an attempted extortion effort.
Following Tuesday's vote on the House human trafficking bills, Gaetz told The Hill newspaper he voted against the reauthorization because "the government's failure to accurately and specifically define human trafficking allows this legislation to act as a backdoor loophole for illegal immigration and amnesty."
Contact Andy Sher at firstname.lastname@example.org or 615-255-0550. Follow him on Twitter @AndySher1.