Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., accompanied by Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 24, 2015.
Photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

Senate passes anti-human trafficking bill, clearing way for Lynch vote


The Senate on Wednesday unanimously passed an anti-human trafficking bill, clearing the way for a full vote on attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch.

The anti-human trafficking bill passed 99-0, according to NBC News’ Frank Thorp. Texas Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz was the only senator to miss the vote. The legislation now goes to the House for final approval.

Lynch’s confirmation has been stalled for an unprecedented length of time – more than 160 days – and it has been nearly two months since the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to approve her nomination. The trafficking bill was the latest hurdle to Lynch’s confirmation, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell delaying a vote on Lynch until after the trafficking bill was resolved. The bill had been in legislative limbo over Democratic opposition to anti-abortion language contained in the measure, but senators reached a deal Tuesday to move forward.

RELATED: Senate deal on trafficking clears way for Loretta Lynch vote

President Obama has called the delay of Lynch’s confirmation “embarrassing” and said the intransigence is an example of Senate dysfunction going too far.

The Senate is expected to vote on Lynch’s nomination at around 2 p.m. ET Thursday. Five Republican Senators have pledged support for Lynch, as well as 46 Democrats, meaning she likely has the votes to be confirmed.

NBC News’ Frank Thorp contributed reporting.