How the deal got done: Amy Klobuchar's 'cornfield idea' saves anti-human trafficking bill

Washington (CNN)A month ago, the office of Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar was embarrassed when it was revealed that a staff member had learned of but failed to flag controversial abortion language that Republicans had quietly slipped into an otherwise popular and bipartisan anti-human trafficking bill.

The provision caused a major dust up between the parties, stalling the trafficking bill and further delaying the confirmation of Loretta Lynch to be attorney general.
But Klobuchar redeemed herself by coming up with the concept that broke the logjam and secured support from members on both sides of the always contentious abortion issue.
"It took some time. There was a lot of anger at the beginning on both sides," the second-term senator told reporters with pride in the Capitol Tuesday, shortly after an agreement was announced.
"When we went back for recess people had a chance to cool down and start thinking of solutions," Klobuchar said. "I actually came up with this in a corn field outside of Moorhead, Minnesota. That's where I called everyone from a car and I said, 'here's an idea.'"
She was visiting Moorhead Middle School as part of her annual trek to all 87 Minnesota counties and was joined on the stop by Sen. John Hoeven, a Republican from North Dakota. They also did an event at Fargo High School, in that North Dakota city that abuts Moorhead on the states' border.
Klobuchar called Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid and others from the cornfield.
That night, she and Hoeven, a first-term senator who is known to work across the aisle, talked "at length" about the idea over dinner at a nice restaurant in Fargo.
Democrats were angry Republicans had included language in the anti-human trafficking bill to prevent restitution funds paid by perpetrators to their victims from being used to cover the cost of abortions. They complained it expanded abortion restrictions that are common in government spending bills to fees collected from private citizens.
Klobuchar's proposed dividing the funds so the fines from traffickers would be used for non-health care services for victims, like legal aid, while money already appropriated by Congress -- and already subject to abortion restrictions -- would be available for healthcare and medical services for the victims.
"The cornfield idea was the two funds," she said.
The reaction was positive.
"I called people individually and I spent the last two weeks sort of just talking to them about it," she said. "I could tell that people didn't immediately say, 'that's a really bad idea' or 'that will never fly.' No one ever said that so I thought we must be in a ballpark."
Still, it took three weeks for her idea in the cornfield to get announced by leaders as a done deal on the Senate floor.
"There were so (many) details of this, and how you really do it. And you have to get people on board and all the groups that had gotten up in arms over this, she said.
Klobuchar said the agreement is a good sign that bipartisanship is alive despite years of being on life support.
"We at least have seen a little bit of the frost melt but there is so much more work to do," she said.