Legislative Update for May 3, 2013

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The House and Senate were out of session this week.


Military Religious Liberty: The military is sending out warning flares that religious freedom, and particularly Christianity, will not be tolerated.On April 23, Pentagon leaders met with anti-Christian extremist Mikey Weinstein and may be relying on his recommendations as they create new policies which could hinder religious liberty.Equally despicable, the liberal media treats Weinstein as a legitimate commentator on faith in the military with statements such as, “Today, we face incredibly well-funded gangs of fundamentalist Christian monsters who terrorize their fellow Americans by forcing their weaponized and twisted version of Christianity upon their helpless subordinates in our nation’s armed forces.” Weinstein also described an individual’s sharing of religious faith with other members of the military as “spiritual rape.”

This meeting follows news that an Army Reserve training session in Pennsylvania on equal employment opportunities included a slide presentation created by somebody outside the military. One of the slides was titled, “Religious Extremism,” and it grouped evangelical and Catholic Christians, Mormons, Jews, and Muslims with al-Qaida and the Ku Klux Klan, among others.

While the military has issued a statement saying, “Service members can share their faith, or evangelize, but must not force unwanted, intrusive attempts to convert others of any faith or no faith to one’s beliefs,” these events are still deeply disturbing. Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado) is circulating a letter among his colleagues addressed to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel on protecting religious liberty in the military.

Action: Please ask your representative to sign on to the letter circulated by Rep. Lamborn.If your representative would like to add his/her name, please have their staff contact Brandon Miller in Rep. Lamborn’s office.The deadline to sign on to the letter is Wednesday, May 8.To find your representative, please click here.

Workplace Flexibility Act: Next week, the House will vote on Rep. Martha Roby’s (R-Alabama) Workplace Flexibility Act. This legislation helps families achieve balance between family life and work by providing greater workplace flexibility. It gives private sector employees the same choices government workers already have, the ability to choose between overtime and compensatory pay.In today’s downward economy, proposals like this one give families the opportunity to make choices that suit their needs.

Action: Please call your representative and ask him/her to support the Workplace Flexibility Act.To find your representative, please click here.

U.N. Treaties: While the Senate is the one that acts upon treaties, on May 1, Dr. Janice Crouse briefed House staff on the dangers of U.N. treaties like the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) at the request of the House Sovereignty Caucus.Reps. Lamborn and Jeff Duncan (R-South Carolina), Sovereignty Caucus Co-Chairs, are circulating a letter to their colleagues addressed to Sens. Harry Reid (D-Nevada) and Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), urging them to oppose treaty ratification for the CRPD.

Action:Please call your representative and ask them to sign onto the letter circulated by Reps. Lamborn and Duncan. If your representative would like to add his/her name, please have their staff contact Hilary Ranieri in Rep. Duncan’s office.To find your representative, please click here.


Immigration: It’s a possibility that the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), will introduce an amendment this next week to the Immigration Bill that would allow homosexuals to sponsor foreign-born partners for green cards. The topic of immigration is difficult enough without adding another controversial issue to the mix. The effort by Chairman Leahy is seen as a poison pill. Instead of focusing on the issue-at-hand – immigration – the topic will be shifted to that of “gay couples.” This poison pill comes into play during a time when American citizens are still debating “gay marriage,” upon which the Supreme Court has yet to release a decision.

If this topic is brought up as an amendment, it is likely that senators will be forced to vote against or for the immigration bill based on that topic alone and not on the actual issue of immigration. CWALAC will be tracking this possible amendment.

Nomination: Thomas E. Perez’s nomination for the position of Secretary of Labor is coming up in the Senate Health, Education, Labor, & Pension (HELP) Committee on May 8. During his time as Assistant Attorney General and chief of The Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ), Perez misused his position and chose a biased ideology over upholding the Constitution and the rights of all Americans. This honored cabinet position requires a leader who will look out for the best interests of his/her fellow Americans, especially in these hard economic times. Instead, Mr. Perez’s rumproves he is willing to put ideology above facts and the law. His appointment would instill anything but confidence in the thousands of women we represent.

For more details, click here to read CWALAC’s letter to the Senate HELP Committee.

Action:Please call the following senators who sit on the HELP Committee, and urge them to oppose bringing Perez’s nomination to the Senate floor.

Chairman: Tom Harkin (D-Iowa): 202-224-3254

Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland): 202-224-4654

Patty Murray (D-Washington): 202-224- 2621

Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont): 202-224-5141

Bob Casey (D-Pennsylvania): 202-224-6324

Kay Hagan (North Carolina): 202-224-6342

Al Franken (D-Minnesota): 202-224-5641

Michael Bennet (D-Colorado): 202-224-2447

Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island): 202-224-2621

Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin): 202-224-5653

Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut): 202-224-4041

Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts): 202-224-4543

Ranking Member: Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee): 202-224-4944

Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming): 202-224-3424

Richard Burr (R-North Carolina): 202-224-3154

Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia): 202-224-3643

Rand Paul (R-Kentucky): 202-224-4343

Orrin Hatch (R-Utah): 202-224-5251

Pat Roberts (R-Kansas): 202-224-4774

Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska): 202-224-6665

Mark Kirk (R-Illinois): 202-224-2854

Tim Scott (R-South Carolina): 202-224-6121

United Nations (U.N.) Treaties: Last year, efforts to move the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) forward brought the treaty to the Senate floor, which then didn’t receive the votes needed to be ratified. If U.N. treaties are ratified by the U.S. Senate, that treaty becomes law and will supersede domestic law. America will have to abide by the treaty, and those ramifications are too vast to overlook. It’s been rumored that the CRPD is likely to come up in the Foreign Relations Committee this month. U.S. sovereignty means that Americans make laws for America, not a foreign committee (which would be the case if the CRPD was ratified).

Action: There is no need to waste time on a U.N. treaty, when our American families are in need of economic responsibility from their federal government and the Senate already voted this treaty down last year. Call your senators at (202) 224-3121 and urge them to once again oppose the ratification of the CRPD.