Loretta Lynch’s confirmation as Attorney General was not the only sign of a spring thaw in the Senate this week: Senators also voted for a crackdown on human trafficking, while green shoots of compromise seemed to sprout on other contentious issues, both foreign and domestic.
To be sure, both the Lynch and human trafficking votes should have happened months ago, before a partisan standoff developed about a side-issue squabble on abortion funding. But this is what we’ve come to expect from the Senate — long wrangles over old issues, driven by intensely partisan constituencies.
So the deal on abortion language that finally freed these latest legislative hostages felt like a harbinger of warmer weather to come.
Next week, the Senate will approve a bill setting up a review process by which Congress will consider any nuclear deal President Obama reaches with Iran. That got through the Foreign Relations Committee 19-0 — a big win for chairman Bob Corker, a Republican who negotiated with Democrats.
The Senate also accepted the House’s “doc fix” — a compromise solution to a chronic problem on doctor reimbursements (a perennial threat to patient care). And on trade, it looks like presidential fast-track authority for trade deals will get through the Senate this spring.