Sen. Mitch McConnell spoke today in Louisville at the Kentucky State Police Lab with Debbie Smith, urging the reauthorization of legislation bearing her name that devotes federal funds to tackle the nation's massive rape kit backlog. The Debbie Smith DNA Backlog Reduction Act, first passed in 2004, has little to no opposition in Congress. But as is the case with the current dysfunction of Washington, this bill and other uncontroversial legislation aimed at reducing the nation's backlog of 100,000 rape kits is currently being held up in partisan gridlock.
When asked by The Courier-Journal's Joe Gerth if he would pull his amendment in order for the rape kit backlog funds to proceed, McConnell first said he didn't know what he was talking about. After Gerth followed up with the same question, McConnell stiff-armed by replying, "We're here today to talk about the Debbie Smith Act, and I'd be happy to respond to any questions about that subject." After another reporter followed up by asking if the $41 million to reduce the rape kit backlog is important as well, McConnell answered, "It might be. But that's a separate bill. And we're here today to talk about the Debbie Smith Act and the importance of getting that passed." When Insider Louisville asked McConnell why the Senate is unable to vote on or pass the Justice for All reauthorization, he stretched his own credibility by blaming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who has tried to call for a vote on the legislation for months, only to be blocked by Senate Republicans.