Legislative Updates

Legislative Update for December 20, 2013

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With the House of Representatives out of session for the remainder of the year, the Senate is in for the long haul.


LegisUpdateLogoENDA:   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.

Legislative Update for December 13, 2013

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LegisUpdateLogoBudget Deal:

The House passed the Ryan-Murray budget deal by a vote of 332-94 that set-aside the bipartisan Budget Control Act of 2011, increased spending from $967 billion to $1 trillion, and imposed new revenue, like the Transportation Security Agency fee increase.

To read CWALAC’s letter of opposition to the budget deal, click here.

To read the Conservative Action Project coalition letter, click here.

Take Action:  Now that the budget has passed setting the parameters, appropriators will be coming up with an omnibus spending bill.  Please call your representative and urge him/her to ask that conscience protections (H.R. 940) be included in the must-pass spending bill.  Also, please call Speaker John Boehner (202-225-0600) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (202-225-4000) and ask them to include it in the must-pass spending bill. Even though the Supreme Court will hear the Hobby Lobby case next year, the HHS mandate goes into effect on January 1, 2014, so this legislative fix is needed.

Women’s History Museum:

On December 11, the House Administration Committee held a hearing on the Women’s History Museum.  CWALAC has opposed efforts to allow a National Women’s History Museum to be built on the National Mall, because this museum is costly, not needed, and will be misused as another mouthpiece for the feminists.

Take Action:  Please call your representative and ask him/her to oppose H.R. 863, a bill to form a commission to study the feasibility of building the Women’s History Museum on the National Mall. To find your representative, click here or call 202-225-3121.


Judicial Nomination/Nuclear Option:

A consequence of Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nevada) “power-play,” called the “nuclear option,” was in full effect this week.  Sen. Reid brought up controversial nominees to the D.C. Circuit who, under original Senate Rules, had failed confirmation.

Nina Pillard: Among the three was Nina Pillard, whose radical thinking on issues affecting women are extremely troubling. For example, Pillard stated:

Many abstinence-only curricula were designed and are strongly supported by religious and conservative groups such as Focus on the Family and Concerned Women for America (CWA). These curricula’s views of sex, sexuality, and sex roles closely track the priorities of such supporting organizations. CWA, a powerful abstinence-only proponent, consistently expresses support for “motherhood.” CWA’s advocacy exploits a useful ambiguity in the meaning of that word, referring both to the unassailable fact that women who bear children are mothers and to the traditional, sex-based assignment of women to the social role of primary family caregiver-a role that CWA particularly champions. For example, CWA opposes the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) because it is based on a conviction that, as CWA protests, “a change in the traditional role of men as well as the role of women in society and in the family is needed to achieve full equality between men and women., CWA decries the Convention’s requirement that signatory nations modify the social and cultural patterns of conduct of men and women, with a view to achieving the elimination of prejudices … based … on stereotyped roles for men and women., CWA’s explicit in its opposition to such change, and in its commitment to win official support for maintenance of sexstereotyped roles and behavior.

Unfortunately, thanks to Sen. Reid’s “nuclear option,” Pillard was confirmed by a vote of 56-42.

To read CWALAC’s letter of opposition to Nina Pillard’s nomination, click here.

Chai Feldblum: This week, the Senate also confirmed Chai Feldblum to be a Member of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Feldblum has already showed extreme bias when looking at those with deeply held religious beliefs, stating:

Sexual liberty should win in most cases. There can be a conflict between religious liberty and sexual liberty, but in almost all cases the sexual liberty should win because that’s the only way that the dignity of gay people can be affirmed in any realistic manner.

Again, thanks to Sen. Reid’s “nuclear option,” Fledblum’s nomination was confirmed by a vote of 54-41.

To read CWALAC’s letter of opposition to Chai Feldblum’s nomination, click here.

Endorsement: Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee has endorsed Sen Mike Lee’s (R-Utah) Marriage and Religious Freedom Act (S.1808).  This measure protects the rights of individuals and organizations from religious discrimination by the federal government by limiting the government from denying any person or group tax-exempt status for exercising their religious conscience rights.

Take Action: Please call your senators and urge them to sign onto Sen. Lee’s bill. To find your senators, click here or call 202-224-3121.

Legislative Update for December 6, 2013

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LegisUpdateLogoWhile the House and Senate were out last week, the Obama Internal Revenue Service (IRS) proposed new guidelines for 501(c)(4) organizations, which will have the significant effect of chilling advocacy groups’ activities, particularly in how they communicate to their members.  In typical Obama Administration form, the IRS took action towards silencing 501(c)(4)s, instead of addressing the real issue of why conservative organizations were being targeted.

Budget negotiations were being hammered out this week, with plans to vote on a budget next week.  CWALAC met with leadership staff and urged them to maintain the spending cuts and caps imposed by the bipartisan Budget Control Act of 2011.

Take Action: Please call your representative at 202-225-3121 and ask him/her to support the bipartisan spending cuts and caps. Click here to find your representative.


The Senate was out of session on its Thanksgiving recess.

Legislative Update for November 22, 2013

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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.


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.

Legislative Update for November 15, 2013

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Keep Your Health Plan Act: On Friday, the House voted 261-157 for a bill that would allow health insurers to continue to offer current plans for an additional year even if they don’t meet the ObamaCare requirements. Thirty-nine Democrats joined Republicans to support this legislation.

Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee (CWALAC) joined over 20 conservative and free market groups to support this legislation. In addition, CWALAC provided real examples to Members of Congress about their constituents, who are losing their health care coverage because of ObamaCare.

Protecting Our First Amendment Rights: CWALAC helped Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Virginia) get 30 Members of Congress to sign on to a letter to President Obama, calling on him to protect our First Amendment rights.

Throughout his presidency, President Obama and his administration have continued to trample our religious freedoms. Since the United States v. Windsor case, federal agencies have bypassed the rulemaking process and Congressional oversight by issuing memorandums and guidance that have the effect of rules. Click here for more information.


Judicial Nominations: Tuesday, the Senate took up the nomination of Cornelia T.L. Pillard for U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and voted against moving her nomination forward.

Pillard is an extreme nominee; she even called out Concerned Women for America (CWA) in a publication titled, “Our Other Reproductive Choices: Equality in Sex Education, Contraceptive Access, and Work-Family,” in which she stated:

“CWA, a powerful abstinence-only proponent, consistently expresses support for ‘motherhood.’ CWA’s advocacy exploits a useful ambiguity in the meaning of that word, referring both to the unassailable fact that women who bear children are mothers and to the traditional, sex-based assignment of women to the social role of primary family caregiver — a role that CWA particularly champions.”

Click here for CWALAC’s press release.

Support for Israel: Talks in Geneva were brought to light this week as the Obama Administration sought to come to an agreement with Iran, whose goal is to get the U.S. economic sanctions lifted, and be able to still develop its nuclear program.

For the safety of Israel, it’s imperative that Iran does not gain nuclear capabilities.

To gain more of an understanding of Iran sanctions and the Senate’s possible role, please read the following:

Click here to view CWALAC response.

Click here to read CWALAC Senate Legislative Director’s article on possible Senate actions.

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD): If ratified, this United Nations treaty will erode parental consent. It would do this by making U.S. law subject to a United Nations Committee.

The CRPD has language that would, for the first time in any binding law, contain the phrase “sexual and reproductive rights.” Just this past May, the United Nations Children’s Fund interpreted the CRPD as giving children as young as 10 years of age the “right” to sexual and reproductive health services without any consent from their parents.

Action: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will have its second hearing on the CRPD next week, November 21. Check the list below to see if your senator sits on the Foreign Relations Committee. If they do, please call and urge them to oppose ratification of this treaty.

Majority Seats:

  1. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey) – (202) 224-4744
  2. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-California) – (202) 224-3553
  3. Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-Maryland) – (202) 224- 4524
  4. Sen. Chris Coons (D-Delaware) – (202) 224-5042
  5. Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Illinois) – (202) 224- 2152
  6. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) – (202) 224-4024
  7. Sen. Edward Markey (D-Massachusetts) – (202) 224-2742
  8. Sen. Christopher Murphy (D-Connecticut) – (202) 224-4041
  9. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire) – (202) 224-2841
  10. Sen. Tom Udall (D-New Mexico) – (202) 224-6621

Minority Seats:

  1. Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyoming) – (202) 224-2946
  2. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) – (202) 224-3041
  3. Sen. Bob Corker (R- Tennessee) – (202) 224- 3344
  4. Sen. James Risch (R-Idaho) – (202) 224-2752
  5. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) – (202) 224-5323
  6. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) – (202) 224-4521
  7. Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) – (202) 244-2235
  8. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) – (202) 224-4343

Click here to view the last hearing on the CRPD, November 5.