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Legislative Update for November 22, 2013

Legislative Update for November 22, 2013
By: CWALAC Staff - 11/22/2013

House

LegisUpdateLogoHHS Mandate:  While President Obama is proposing a band-aid fix for those Americans who lost their health insurance, the Supreme Court is preparing to decide whether to hear the Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood cases on the HHS mandate.  Unless Congress passes legislation to protect conscience, Americans will be forced in January to subsidize abortion-inducing drugs.  Please call your representative at 202-225-3121 and urge them to cosponsor H.R. 940, the Health Care Conscience Rights Act.  Click here to find your representative.

Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA):  This week marked the 20th anniversary of RFRA, which is the preeminent federal protection for religious liberty.  CWALAC worked with other like-minded groups to pass this important legislation.

Senate

Nuclear Option Threat: There has been an on-going debate over the procedural powers of the Majority and Minority in the Senate. The last time Republicans threatened to make this rule change in 2005, Harry Reid (D-Nevada) said, “Ultimately, this is about removing the last check in Washington against complete abusive power.” Now, since taking control, Majority Leader Reid has changed his tune.

The “nuclear option” was deployed on Thursday as a way to weaken the Minority’s voice when “checking” the president’s judicial appointments. The filibuster was first allowed by the Ninth Congress in 1806; this change will likely have serious future implications for how the United States Senate operates.

Alexander Hamilton explained the Senate rules — which are now, after 207 years of Senate precedent, “amended” — in Federalist No. 76, noting the Senate will serve as “an excellent check upon the spirit of favoritism in the President, and would tend greatly to preventing the appointment of unfit characters from State prejudice, from family connection, from personal attachment, or from a view to popularity.”

The Senate voted 48-52 to change cloture on federal judicial nominees and executive-office appointments, expect for Supreme Court nominees, moving the voting threshold from supermajority to simple majority. All Republicans and three Democrats voted against the change.  Click here to see how your member voted.

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