With the House of Representatives out of session for the remainder of the year, the Senate is in for the long haul.
ENDA: On December 16, Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee’s (CWALAC) Director of House Legislation, Shari Rendall, participated in a panel discussion on the House side opposing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). CWALAC appreciates Speaker John Boehner for clearly stating that this is not a House priority. However, Democrats have mentioned trying to bypass the legislative process and get ENDA to the floor by getting 218 Members of Congress onto a discharge petition. The House ENDA bill already has 200 cosponsors.
No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion: CWALAC warned about the abortion funding in ObamaCare. In light of the answers provided by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to the questions posed by Rep. John Shimkus about which health care plans cover abortion, it is clearly evident, in order to ensure Americans are not forced to subsidize abortions, that the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion, H.R. 7, needs to be passed. CWALAC signed onto a coalition letter urging Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor to pass H.R. 7 early next year.
The Healthcare Conscience Rights Act: Now that Congress has passed a budget and spending bills will need to be considered prior to January 15, the House must include conscience protections to any omnibus spending bill in order to protect the religious freedoms of all Americans. As of January 1, 2014, the HHS mandate will be active. While the Supreme Court will hear the Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Woods case, we need to ensure that there is a legislative fix. CWALAC signed onto a coalition letter urging Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Cantor to include conscience protections in any omnibus spending bill considered by the House.
Act now: Please urge your representative to ask Speaker Boehner and Leader Cantor to include conscience protections in the omnibus spending bill that will be voted on in January. Click here to find your representative.
Budget: Wednesday, the Senate passed, by a vote of 64-36, the bipartisan budget agreement set forth by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) and Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D-Washington).
National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA): Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) has prevented the Senate from bring up amendments, a tactic only the Majority Leader can make. In doing this, he keeps a bipartisan agreement to impose new sanctions against Iran. This is a topic many senators have said they will bring up after the New Year.
The president has stated that the Senate’s new Iran punishments won’t be enacted; if the Senate does pass legislation, even if supported by a wide base, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said that President Obama will veto it.
Despite this, the Senate did vote 64-36 to approve the NDAA for Fiscal Year 2014. To see how your member voted, click here.
Judicial Nomination/Nuclear Option: As judicial nominations no longer require 60 votes, thanks to the change in precedent accomplished through the “nuclear option,” Majority Leader Reid finished the week by filing cloture on ten nominees. These nominees weren’t as controversial as last week’s, but the sheer will by leadership to push the administration’s agenda before the year’s end is appalling.
Majority Leader Reid is determined to get his last batch of nominees through and has stated he will keep the Senate in session till that is done, which could be up to Christmas Eve.
Endorsements: Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) introduced the “Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act” this week. This legislation seeks to clarify which health insurance plans, offered under the health care exchange, offer abortion coverage. It also requires transparency with regards to the amount of the abortion surcharge.
Take Action: Please call your senators at 202-224-3121, and urge them to cosponsor Sen. Roberts’ bill, S. 1848, the Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act.