Twenty Republicans on Wednesday voted against legislation that would reauthorize anti-trafficking programs.
The bill is called Frederick Douglass Prevention and Protection of Victims of Trafficking in Persons Act of 2022, passed the House with a score of 401-20. It first became law in 2000 and met almost no opposition from either party at the time.
Florida Republican Party Rep. Matt Gaetz, who is said He himself was under a federal investigation into allegations of sex trafficking involving a minor, and was among the GOP members who voted “no” on the bill.
Gates accused of having sexual relations with a 17-year-old girl and paying for her travel costs, The New York Times First reported in March 2021. The Florida congressman denied wrongdoing and suggested the investigation was part of a scheme to blackmail him and his family.
What we know: Representative Matt Gates is under federal investigation for having sex with a minor
In May 2021, the congressman’s ex-boyfriend — Joel Greenberg, a former Seminole County tax collector — pleaded guilty in federal court to six of the 33 charges against him, including sex trafficking.
Gates has not been accused of anything. According to a statement from his office, Gates voted against the bill because of its definition of “human trafficking” and its cost.
“The government’s failure to accurately and specifically define human trafficking allows this legislation to serve as a back-hole for illegal immigration and amnesty,” Gaetz spokesperson Joel Valdez told USA TODAY. “The bill also costs more than half a billion dollars to implement and saves more taxpayer money for overfunded and ineffective grant programs.”
Other Republicans who joined Gates in voting against the anti-trafficking bill are:
- Representative Brian Babin of Texas
- Representative Andy Biggs of Arizona
- Representative Lauren Poubert of Colorado
- Representative Mo Brooks of Alabama
- Representative Ken Buck of Colorado
- Representative Andrew Clyde of Georgia
- Representative Louis Johart of Texas
- Representative Paul Gosar of Arizona
- Representative Marjorie Taylor Green of Georgia
- Representative Andy Harris of Maryland
- Representative Judy Hayes of Georgia
- Representative Thomas Massey of Kentucky
- Representative Tom McClintock of California
- Representative Mary Miller of Illinois
- Representative Troy Niles of Texas
- Representative Ralph Norman of South Carolina
- Representative Scott Perry of Pennsylvania
- Representative Chip Roy of Texas
- Representative Van Taylor of Texas
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