House Republicans Keep Up Fight to Stop Government Encroachment on Religious Liberty

House Republicans are keeping pressure on the Obama administration to reverse its unconstitutional mandate that “would force some Americans to violate their religious beliefs” – the most egregious government encroachment on Americans’ First Amendment rights in 220 years, Speaker Boehner said yesterday.  Here’s more from CNS News:

“‘I think it’s important for us to win this issue,’ Boehner said at a Capitol press briefing. ‘The government, our government, for 220 years has respected the religious views of the American people.  And for all of this time there’s been an exception for those churches and other groups to protect the religious beliefs that they believe in.’ ‘And that’s being violated here,’ he said.

“The House Speaker also said it is ‘an important part of my job’ to stand up for the Constitution. ‘I believe that standing up for the Constitution, standing up for people’s protection under the law and under the Constitution to practice their faith as they like, this is an important part of my job,’ he said.  ‘I’m trying to find a way, frankly, to get a bipartisan agreement to solve this problem.’”

Speaking at a Heritage Foundation forum titled “Women Speak Out: Obamacare Tramples Religious Liberty” held earlier this week, Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle (R-NY) explained how the ObamaCare mandate is just the latest consequence of the government takeover of healthcare and further indication of the disastrous implications it will have for Americans’ Constitutionally-enshrined liberties:

“The very essence of the health care law—the very essence of it—is that the government will tell you what your health care is going to be. So it is absolutely a logical sequence that we now have the government stepping in and saying, ‘Okay, we’re going to pick your conscience issues.’… This rule is nothing more than a continuation of what we’ve seen. It is just the government way overstepping its bounds.… You have the rights. You shouldn’t be going to them for permission.… We need to get government back to its proper role.”

At an Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Health hearing yesterday, committee chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) also pressed the Obama administration on its fine-on-faith mandate.  From the Energy & Commerce Committee:

“Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) highlighted a CRS memo that outlines possible penalties for religious employers that fail to comply with the HHS’ mandate to cover drugs or services that violate their religious or moral convictions. ‘In my state there’s a hospital, Borgess Hospital, it is a part of the Ascension Hospital, and they employ 31,000 people. According to this CRS memo, Ascension is likely to be subject to fines over $1 billion.’ Upton questioned how HHS would accommodate self-insured employers, such as Borgess Hospital, that the White House’s ‘accommodation’ fails to protect. Secretary Sebelius provided no details regarding how these employers’ conscience would be protected. Burgess responded, ‘it bothers me that there will be a fine for faith.’”

Under tough questioning from Rep. Sandy Adams (R-FL) at a Judiciary hearing on Tuesday, a member of the committee that recommended the mandate be included in the package of required ObamaCare services conceded that the committee did not even consider a conscience clause or religious exemption.  On defense at a town hall meeting, one House Democrat confirmed that Democrats were not even “looking to the Constitution” when it comes to their fine-on-faith mandate.  Well, obviously not, because men and women of all faiths have made clear that the mandate is an assault on Americans’ First Amendment rights.   As Speaker Boehner said yesterday, “this is wrong and we want to stop it.”  To that end, Republicans will continue fighting the ObamaCare anti-conscience mandate and protecting Americans’ right to religious liberty.