Democrats blocked a bipartisan human trafficking bill Tuesday, launching a filibuster to protest an abortion provision that has turned into a major ideological test for both parties — and that threatens to hold up Loretta Lynch, whom President Obama has picked to replace Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.
The flareup that manages to tie together immigration, abortion gender and race — Ms. Lynch would be the first black female to head the Justice Department — and has quickly escalated into a major test between Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, and Minority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat.
Mr. Reid won Tuesday’s fight, though not without several defections. Four Democrats joined 52 Republicans in backing the trafficking bill and the abortion provision, though that was still four shy of the 60 needed to overcome the filibuster.
“The American people will not forget it,” Mr. McConnell vowed ahead of the vote, which he said was an embarrassing predicament for Democrats.