Feinstein, Murray, Wyden Introduce Bill to Rescind Executive Order Setting Foundation for Discrimination, Denial of Health Care
May 11 2017
Washington—Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), ranking members of the Senate Judiciary, HELP and Finance Committees, respectively, today introduced a bill to rescind the president’s executive order that undermines the integrity of the charitable sector and lays the groundwork for federal rules that could allow discrimination, particularly against women, LGBT Americans, religious minorities and others, under the pretext of religious liberty.
The bill is cosponsored by Senators Pat Leahy (D-Vt.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Jack Reed (D-R.I), and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.).
“This dangerous executive order paves the way for the administration to allow companies to deny health care to their employees and the attorney general to roll back protections against discrimination. Our bill would rescind the order, protecting access to health care for all Americans and rejecting the administration’s disturbing attempt to use religious liberty to undermine the rights of others,” said Senator Feinstein.
“President Trump has laid out a hateful, damaging agenda to undo hard-won progress for women’s reproductive freedom, the LGBTQ community, religious minorities, and so many more—and he’s going to have to answer to every individual who is harmed by this executive order,” said Senator Patty Murray. “With this bill, Democrats are sending a very clear message to President Trump: we will not stand idly by as you work to allow more discrimination, hate, and division in communities across our country.”
“All Americans, regardless of their personal or religious beliefs, should be protected from discrimination. Limiting the rights of LGBTQ Americans and access to affordable reproductive health care and birth control is an assault on individual freedom. Those same individual rights must be protected from the flow of dark money in politics that would use taxpayer dollars to subsidize special interests,” said Senator Wyden.
The executive order:
- Directs the Department of Health and Human Services to consider changes to federal regulations that could allow companies to refuse coverage for preventive health services, as required by the Affordable Care Act’s essential health benefits provision, on the basis of religious objections. This could allow companies to refuse to cover contraception for women and eliminate current protections that ensure women are guaranteed access to contraception, regardless of where they work.
- Directs the attorney general to issue guidance to all federal agencies on current religious liberty protections. This could alter how they are interpreted and lead to the discrimination of LGBT Americans in health and housing.
- Directs the Treasury Department not to enforce longstanding tax laws that protect charities and religious organizations from partisan campaign influence.
The bill is supported by the American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Campaign, NARAL and Planned Parenthood.