Watch: Harry Reid Blocks Vote on Bill to Criminalize Torture of Animals

By Eric Scheiner | September 26, 2016 | 4:24pm EDT

On Thursday, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Penn.) was seeking a vote on a bill he introduced with Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) to make it a federal crime to commit the animal abuse known as "crushing." The move to vote on the bill was crushed - by Sen. Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

“The act specifically bans the most appalling forms of animal abuse often known as crushing,” Toomey said explaining the Prevent Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act. “This is when a deranged individual actually tortures and sexually assaults household pets for some perverse enjoyment that they get.”

“Stopping this kind of obscene animal abuse is not controversial at all, there are no Republicans objecting to this legislation, the next Democratic leader is a co-sponsor - Senator Schumer is a co-sponsor of this legislation. There are 27 Democratic co-sponsors.”

“I reserve my right to object,” Reid said after Toomey made the request for unanimous consent to bring the PACT Act to a vote.

“It’s stunning that my friend from Pennsylvania would come to the floor and abandon all the principles that we heard the new Republican majority wants to have in the Senate.  First of all, what about having a hearing?”

Reid later made an effort to link the PACT Act to a confirmation hearing on Supreme Court Nominee Merrick Garland.

“So, I think it would be a good idea before we rush ahead on legislation that’s had no hearing that we have a hearing for (Supreme Court nominee) Merrick Garland,” Reid said.

Toomey replied, "This is exactly what the American people are so frustrated about with this body and some of the leadership in this body, when this kind of completely partisan-driven agenda blocks progress.” 

According to Toomey’s website, the PACT Act is needed because despite taking steps in 2010 to ban the sale of videos depicting animal crushing, Congress failed to make the underlying act of crushing a federal crime.

“This means that - even when there is overwhelming evidence that torture is taking place - federal law enforcement is unable to protect animals from abuse or even arrest known abusers.”

“Individuals found guilty of torturing animals would face felony charges, fines, and up to seven years in prison," the website says.

No vote was held on the PACT Act.

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