Yesterday, Oprah Winfrey urged her viewers to contact their senators and ask them to support the Protect Our Children Act (H.R. 3845/S. 1738), which authorizes over $320 million over the next five years for law enforcement to investigate child exploitation:
This is what we want to do. Want to get these guys and put them in jail. So, tell us about the Protect Our Children Act. It’s going before the U.S. Senate this month. We only have a few days.
The bill is being blocked by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), who, in July, successfully derailed the legislation when it was included in the “the so-called Coburn omnibus,” a package of nearly 40 uncontroversial bills that extended funding for cancer research and crime prevention.
Now, Senate Democrats are gearing up for a re-match. According to the Hill, “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), spurred on by activists and TV talk show host Oprah Winfrey…has sent word to Senate Democrats that it would like to bring the so-called Coburn omnibus bill to the floor soon, setting up a rematch with the conservative Oklahoma Republican who has often brought the Senate to gridlock.”
Indeed, in his three short years in the Senate, Coburn has earned the reputation of “a fly in the soup,” abusing the senate’s hold privilege to prevent “the Senate leadership” from bringing matters to a vote. He “initially blocked” S. 1738 “because it would have authorized nearly a billion dollars over eight years to fund a law enforcement crackdown on child exploitation,” but now “questions the efficacy of a new program.”
Far from controversial, the bill is co-sponsored by conservative Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Ted Stevens (R-AK) and is estimated to cost just $3 per American over the 2009-2013 budgeted period.”
Cross-posted at the Wonk Room.