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Ashley Foster

Democrats’ Dirty Laundry: $3.5 Trillion Budget Reconciliation Update

By | Legislative Updates, News and Events | No Comments

This week, House committees debated the details of the recently passed $3.5 trillion budget resolution, S. Con. Res. 14. The topline spending numbers and priorities in the Democrat blueprint were troublesome enough, but now we lay eyes on the far-reaching policies that Democrats aim to fund via an unprecedented tax and spend spree. As expected, the Democrats are moving full steam ahead to implement the Left’s agenda.

The plan amounts to the highest sustained spending level in American history, raising taxes on working families and job creators and driving up prices of goods and utilities. Proposed policies trigger a broad expansion of the nanny state through costly federal mandates that overrule parents and families in raising our children. Further, Democrats are relentlessly pursuing unlimited avenues for elective abortion and, without resistance, will execute an end run around every possible state prohibition on elective abortion coverage in healthcare plans. Shameful, but not at all surprising. We must stand strong against these attempts.

Time to air the dirty laundry from the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion budget. View a list of key concerns here.

Senate and House Committees Set Stage to Draft Our Daughters

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“Certainly I will go with you,” said Deborah. “But because of the course you are taking, the honor will not be yours, for the LORD will deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman.” Judges 4:9

Like Deborah, the prophetess, women have been called to fulfill God-ordained missions throughout history. Whether to meet family needs or respond in a crisis, women step up to serve. From Queen Esther to Rosie the Riveter and beyond, females continue to fill the critical roles God sets before them, including to defend their country.

Many American women proudly serve in our all-volunteer armed forces. Females comprise 19% of the current officer corps. But this does not mean we should force young women to sign up for the military draft. Sadly, Congress is on track to overturn long-standing military policy that established the all-male draft and will diminish women’s intrinsic value and worth under a false banner of “equality.”

In July, the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) advanced the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) behind closed doors with an amendment that would force young women to register for the Selective Service (SS). The SS is the mechanism by which male citizens are drafted for military service to meet combat needs during a national security crisis. Conscripting young women to the frontlines of war is a complete reversal of established and justified military policy upheld by the Supreme Court.

In response to this action, CWA Legislative Action Committee led a coalition letter to Congress asking members to oppose any legislation that would draft our daughters. Nearly 30 states were represented on the letter through a diverse group of national and regional pro-family organizations, former military, faith leaders, mothers, fathers, and more.

On September 1, the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) followed the Senate’s course in approving an amendment to force women into the draft. Five of the 28 Republicans joined 30 of the 31 Democrats in passing the amendment, effectively co-opting our military into an ideological project that undermines primary objectives for our national defense.

We celebrate the many critical roles women embrace in every stage of life, but we reject the baseless notion that women’s equality means sameness with men. Inherent distinctions between the sexes have everything to do with military readiness in a wartime crisis. We must maintain a united front against this policy as the House and Senate return from recess later this month. Our daughters should not be forced into the draft as a social experiment.

You can learn more by reading our fact sheet on this issue. Visit our Action Center here and contact your members of Congress today.

Hit and Run: House Approves $3.5T Budget Plan and Elections Power Grab

By | Legislative Updates, News and Events | No Comments

The House took a brief hiatus from August Recess this week to consider the Left’s tax and spend wish list and a partisan power grab to federalize our elections.

Drama reigned over how the Democrats would manage a 24-hour session as leadership struggled to get their “moderate” wing in line. They could not afford to lose these ten members if they were going to have enough votes to pass the excessive $3.5 trillion budget blueprint that Senate Democrats advanced. After late-night negotiations and enough public wrangling with this group of moderate members, who were demanding consideration of the Senate infrastructure bill first, the budget resolution was put up for a vote and passed along party lines.

As members chomped at the bit to flee back to their districts, Speaker Pelosi then brought H.R. 4, the deceptively named John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, to the floor. H.R. 4 is a cheap alternative to H.R. 1, taking constitutionally derived authority away from the states for election law and transferring it to the federal government to second guess their every move. The legislation establishes a reckless formula to single out states and localities for so-called voting rights violations, requiring federal preclearance on any proposed changes to election laws or practices. In the 2013 Shelby County v. Holder decision, the Supreme Court invalidated a similar provision contained in the original Voting Rights Act of 1965. The House passed H.R. 4 by another party-line vote. Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee (CWALAC) notified members of our opposition to the bill and our intent to include it on our scorecard. You may view the letter here. Action on this bill now moves to the Senate when it returns in September.

The House Rules Committee also set the stage for consideration of the so-called bipartisan infrastructure package passed by the Senate when members return in September. This bill is another trojan horse for trillions in wasteful spending and radical, divisive policies that have nothing to do with meaningful investments in American infrastructure. CWALAC will continue to oppose the legislation’s advancement.

We will bring you the latest updates as Congress races towards the September 30 end of the fiscal year.

Senate Democrats’ Bloated Budget Plan Advances

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Senate Pulls All-Night Vote Fest to Advance Democrats’ Bloated Budget Plan

This week, Senate Democrats steamrolled a $3.5 trillion budget resolution through an all-night floor debate and vote extravaganza. The final 50-49 party-line vote was cast in the early hours of August 11, 2021, following a 15-hour voting marathon, known as a vote-a-rama. The resolution, S. Con. Res 14, is saturated with extreme policy objectives and reckless expansions of taxes and debt that amount to a wish list of big government spending priorities and tone-deaf government mandates that could directly impact hard-working American families.

For those unfamiliar with legislative lingo, a budget resolution is a planning document that provides Congress with a blueprint for overall government spending, tax, deficit, and debt levels. In the Senate, it only needs a simple majority to pass and cannot be filibustered. Budget resolutions provide instructions to committees for writing detailed plans. With Democrats in charge, these plans will reflect the Left’s agenda.

Like the Senate’s first vote fest in March, this week’s vote-a-rama also allowed for consideration of high-profile policies that force Senators to take positions on tough issues and define their voting record in the next election. Over 600 amendments were filed, but leadership allowed just under 50 to receive floor votes during the all-nighter on the Senate floor. Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee (CWALAC) issued a letter advising of our intent to score any votes on a select list of critical topics, including the sanctity of life, radical gender ideology, and more. You may view the letter here.

Notably, Sen. James Lankford (R-Oklahoma), Sen. Steve Daines (R-Montana) and Sen. Roy Blunt’s (R-Missouri) pro-life amendment prohibiting taxpayer funding for abortion and providing conscience protections for those who refuse to participate in abortion won majority support and was included in the final budget resolution. The measure modeled after the longstanding Hyde and Weldon Amendments was adopted 50-49 with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) joining all Republicans in voting yes. While the amendment is non-binding, its adoption clearly signals that the Hyde and Weldon safeguards hold crucial majority support in the Senate for the budget battles ahead.

Two other critical pro-life amendments received floor votes but failed. Sen. John Kennedy’s (R-Louisiana) amendment mirroring the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which sets criminal penalties for those who perform an abortion on an unborn child after 20 weeks gestation, was rejected 48-51.  Democrat Sen. Manchin voted yes while Republican Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) joined all other Democrats in voting against.

Sen. Jim Inhofe’s (R-Oklahoma) humane amendment protecting unborn children with Down syndrome from abortion was rejected 49-50. Sen. Manchin voted with Republicans in support of this amendment while Sen. Collins joined the Democrats in opposition.

CWALAC was also pleased to see a vote on the divisive subject of Critical Race Theory (CRT). Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) offered an amendment prohibiting federal funding of CRT in K-12 schools. It was successfully adopted 50-49 with Sen. Manchin standing with Republicans to vote yes.

The tax and spend debate surrounding this partisan budget plan is far from over. The House and Senate will return in September to consider the specifics of this unprecedented $3.5 trillion plan. We will continue to bring you the latest updates and work to ensure that Congress does not squander America’s future with irresponsible spending and leftist policies that extend the federal government’s reach into our lives, liberties, and pocketbooks.

The Assault on Hyde and Family: FY 2022 House Appropriations Update

By | Hyde Amendment, Legislative Updates, News and Events, Sanctity of Life | No Comments

Last week, the Democrat House Majority rammed through a federal budget stripped of all longstanding pro-life protections, including the Hyde Amendment. This tone-deaf political ploy effectively wrote a blank check to the abortion industry at home and abroad, leaving American taxpayers with the tab. Since the poisonous package is likely unpalatable in the Senate, the upper chamber is left to its own devices to avert a fiscal cliff and government shutdown.

H.R. 4502, a seven-bill package for FY 2022 appropriations, included the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations (LHHS) Act and Financial Services and General Government Appropriations (FSGG) Act. LHHS blatantly excluded Hyde, a prohibition on taxpayer funding of elective abortion through Medicaid and Medicare disability, and the Weldon Amendment, a conscience protection prohibiting government discrimination against healthcare entities that refuse to provide or pay for abortions. To justify the Democrats’ position, House Appropriations Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (D-Connecticut) condemned the last 45 years of bipartisan agreement to include Hyde as “a mistake.” FSGG repealed other members of the family of protections:  the Dornan Amendment, a ban on the use of local and federal funds for abortion services in Washington, D.C., and the Smith Amendment, a ban on funding for elective abortions through the Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) program.

During House floor debate, Rep. Tom Cole (R-Oklahoma) offered a motion to recommit (MTR) H.R. 4502 that would have restored the Hyde, Weldon, Dornan, and Smith Amendments—all of which were removed from the underlying bill in committee. The measure failed by a vote of 208-217. You may view the MTR roll call here to see if your member stood strong for life. H.R. 4502 eventually passed the House on a party-line vote of 219-208. Learn how your representative voted here. CWALAC scored votes against the package.

H.R. 4373, the FY 2022 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Act, aimed to make abortion our nation’s top export overseas. The bill eliminated the Helms Amendment, a ban on international aid from funding abortion as a family planning method. The legislation also weakened application of the Kemp-Kasten Amendment, a prohibition of federal funding to organizations or programs that, as determined by the President, support or participate in a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization. Furthermore, CWALAC opposed drastic increases in funding for the United Nation’s Population Fund, a known supporter of China’s forced abortion and sterilization regime, and International Family Planning, a slush fund for Planned Parenthood after recission of the Mexico City Policy. H.R. 4373 passed the House by a vote of 217-212, with four Democrats joining Republicans against. You may view the roll call here. CWALAC scored against the bill and in favor of two amendments to eliminate new pro-abortion funding, both of which failed.

Now, we turn to the Senate to preserve decades of bipartisan consensus to protect the sanctity of life and Americans’ right not to fund its destruction. We must remind members that they have been sent to Congress to represent their constituents and not the abortion lobby. Visit our Action Center here. CWALAC will continue to advocate for the most vulnerable among us and work tirelessly to prevent the passage of legislation that uses taxpayer dollars to finance the abortion industry and destroy innocent human life.

mother-baby

FY 2022 Appropriations Update: Standing Strong for Life in the House

By | Legislative Updates, News and Events, Sanctity of Life | No Comments

As Congress drafts appropriations bills for the new fiscal year, pro-life advocates are fighting to preserve longstanding prohibitions on the use of taxpayer dollars for abortions, both at home and abroad. Despite pleas for reason from their colleagues and the American people, the Democrat Majority is unyielding in its quest to bankroll the destruction of innocent human life.

The House Appropriations Committee recently passed the FY 2022 State and Foreign Operations (SFOPS) and FY 2022 Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) Appropriations bills on party line votes. The SFOPS bill removes the Helms Amendment, a prohibition on taxpayer funding of abortions overseas, and weakens the Kemp-Kasten Amendment, a provision allowing the President to discontinue funds to organizations that support or manage coercive abortion programs. The legislation also permanently repeals the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance Policy (a.k.a. Mexico City Policy), which requires foreign NGOs to agree, as a condition of receiving U.S. dollars, not to promote or perform abortions. Furthermore, the bill drastically increases funding for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), a known supporter of China’s forced abortion and sterilization regime, and for international family planning, a slush fund for Planned Parenthood and related organizations.

During committee markups, Reps. Kay Granger (R-Texas), Ashley Hinson (R-Iowa), and Dr. Andy Harris (R-Maryland) offered amendments to restore these safeguards and remove funding for unchecked, pro-abortion programming. Unfortunately, all attempts were defeated. Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) was the only Democrat member to vote in support of Helms, Kemp-Kasten, and the Mexico City Policy.

The FSGG bill removes the Smith Amendment, a prohibition on funding for abortions through the Federal Health Benefits (FEHB) program, and the Dornan Amendment, a ban on the use of local and federal funds for abortion services in Washington, D.C., Once again, Rep. Hinson offered amendments to reinstate these provisions, but both items were defeated. Rep. Cuellar voted with Republicans to protect Smith.

This week, the Committee marked up FY 2022 funding for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS) and Education. This appropriations bill is the legislative vehicle for the Hyde Amendment, a longstanding prohibition on federal funding of elective abortion through Medicaid, Medicare disability, and other programming. Lawmakers have agreed to its inclusion in the federal budget for the last four decades, yet Democrats have stripped the life-saving language from this year’s bill. The Weldon Amendment, a prohibition on government discrimination against healthcare entities that refuse to cover or pay for abortions, has also been removed. This is unacceptable.

Members will have another chance to stand for life as these bills move to full consideration on the House floor and on to the Senate. Please visit our Action Center today and tell your U.S. Representative and Senators to hold the line on Hyde and related protections.

We applaud those who have already risen to challenge this affront to the sanctity of human life. On July 1, 2021, the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus and the Republican Study Committee joined forces on a letter to President Biden opposing his FY 2022 budget request and the blatant disregard for American taxpayers’ conscience rights. That same day, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Washington) led a letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra requesting follow-up on his refusal to acknowledge the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act as federal law. His troubling testimony only underscores the gravity of this fight.

Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee will continue to serve as a voice for the precious unborn as well as millions of Americans who object to their tax dollars financing abortion on demand. Stay tuned for additional updates on FY 2022 Appropriations and our fight to hold the line on Hyde.

Mind Your Business? Congress Pushes Disclosure of Sex Preferences of Nation’s Business Owners

By | Legislative Updates, News and Events, Sexual Exploitation | No Comments

The Left’s drive to impose government mandates that classify people by their sexual behavior and gender preferences was fully on display in Congress recently, drawing even some self-described conservative members in its wake.

On June 24, 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1443, the LGBTQ Business Equal Credit Enforcement and Investment Act. The legislation would require financial institutions to report credit application data to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau detailing the sexual orientation or gender identity of business owners. Concerned Women for American Legislative Action Committee (CWALAC) scored votes against the measure, as it lacks any non-ideological justification for enactment and only furthers the Democrats’ goal of imposing the deceptive Equality Act objectives through the back door.

At the surface, H.R. 1443 is government overreach. Regardless of intended use, a federal database collecting such intimate, unverifiable information is intrusive and beyond the reasonable scope of government authority. Sexual preferences are irrelevant to business lending and should neither hinder nor help one’s credit prospects. Once the precedent for this reporting mandate is set, the case can be made for all federal programming to consider the LGBTQ-status of applicants and recipients. Should we expect these questions on the next census?

The long-term ramifications are limitless. This policy provides the foundation for a new, federally recognized class of LGBTQ business owners who would be eligible for procurement set-asides and sole-source contracting opportunities. Establishing these categories in federal statute paves the way for the government-wide redefinition of sex as sought in the radical Equality Act.

Far too many questions are left unanswered by this ill-conceived policy. We do not know how such data will be certified or why the government saw a need to collect the information in the first place. Even more troublesome is the fact that the Democrat Majority in the House originally intended to pass the legislation on suspension of the rules, a process traditionally reserved for noncontroversial measures that will proceed through the chamber without objection. Thankfully, this first attempt failed to receive the necessary two-thirds vote for approval, forcing the Democrats to place the bill up for full consideration.

Although we hoped to see more Members stand strong against this Trojan horse, many fell in line with the woke Left’s agenda, including the lead Republican member of the Financial Services Committee. You can see how your Representative voted here. CWALAC will continue to toe the line of reason in these cultural battles. Please pray that our elected officials find the courage to do the same.

The Ongoing Fight to Protect Hyde

By | Legislative Updates, News and Events, Sanctity of Life | No Comments

(Action item at the bottom of the post.)

President Biden’s $6 trillion Fiscal Year 2022 budget proposal to Congress breaks over four decades of bipartisan precedent by removing the Hyde Amendment, a prohibition on federal funding of elective abortion through Medicaid, Medicare disability, and other programming under Health and Human Services appropriations. As Congress proceeds with the appropriations process, pro-life advocates are gearing up to ensure that this time-honored safeguard is preserved.

The U.S. House of Representatives recently launched “Eighteen Days for H.R. 18,” a strategy utilizing procedural maneuvers to seek immediate consideration of H.R. 18, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act. This legislation would make the Hyde Amendment permanent and expand its applicability across all government programming, including Obamacare. CWALAC is scoring all votes related to the measure.

As of today, over 20 members have taken to the House floor to publicly highlight the importance of codifying the Hyde Amendment and defending life. On June 23, 2021, a key procedural vote put House Democrats on the record in obstruction of H.R. 18 and its progression through the chamber. This is far from the end of the fight. Our pro-life allies in Congress need our support as they continue to reject this Administration’s brazen assault on our most vulnerable and the conscience rights of American taxpayers.

Learn more about Hyde and its related pro-life provisions in the federal budget here!

Join us in sending a strong message to members of Congress to hold the line and protect life in the federal budget. Visit CWA’s Action Center to contact your Senators and Representative today.

The Left’s Quest for Abortion on Demand

By | Legislative Updates, News and Events, Sanctity of Life | No Comments

On June 16, 2021, the Democrat-controlled Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution held a hearing titled “Protecting Roe: Why We Need the Women’s Health Protection Act,” a timely homage to Roe v. Wade and the left’s newest legislative push for abortion on demand. Just last month, the Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a challenge to Mississippi’s ban (with limited exceptions) on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Congressional Democrats are now working double time to enshrine the right to elective abortion in federal law despite public opinion trending heavily in favor of protecting preborn life.

The so-called “Women’s Health Protection Act of 2021” (WHPA) aims to codify and expand Roe, invalidating nearly every state restriction on abortion nationwide. The bill’s proponents are so blinded by their cause that they refuse to recognize the callous destruction of innocent human life. One hearing witness, Melissa Ohden, a saline abortion survivor and Founder and Director of the Abortion Survivors Network, urged policymakers to face this reality. “Life is the foundation of all other rights. The very fact that this hearing is being held shows that everyone in this room was granted the privilege to retain that right—a privilege I was denied.” Ms. Ohden declared that she and her fellow survivors are an “inconvenient truth,” one that complicates abortionists’ unyielding pro-choice campaign. Read her full testimony here.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), the lead Republican member of the subcommittee, provided a compelling opening statement to clarify the issues at stake. Watch it here.

Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee (CWALAC) implores all members of Congress to listen to the truth about the sanctity of human life and the real meaning of women’s health. Elective abortion is not healthcare, and it does not protect women. As the Biden Administration proposes to repeal every long-standing pro-life safeguard from our federal budget and Congress considers extreme measures like the WHPA, CWALAC will continue to be on the front lines defending life and holding elected officials accountable for inaction.

Learn more about the Women’s Health Protection Act here.

No Hiding from the Hyde Amendment

By | Hyde Amendment, Legislative Updates, News and Events, Sanctity of Life | No Comments

Appropriations season is upon us. As President Biden unveils his $6 trillion Fiscal Year 2022 budget proposal to Congress, it is time again to protect longstanding prohibitions on the use of federal funds for elective abortions. We currently face an unprecedented threat to the time-honored safeguards of the Hyde Amendment and related provisions.

The Hyde Amendment was introduced in 1976 to stop the flow of federal taxpayer dollars for abortion following the Roe v. Wade decision. Every annual spending bill over the last four decades has included this provision, defending the conscience rights of a strong majority of Americans who would otherwise be forced to pay for the destruction of human life. Additional Hyde-like pro-life amendments have since emerged to apply these critical restrictions to other relevant federal programs, both domestic and international.

Abortion giant Planned Parenthood and its industry allies have tightened their grip on the highest echelons of government power to finance their cause. Yet most Americans agree that the abortion industry should not receive federal funds and that preborn life deserves protection. A recent Marist poll found that 76% of Americans support restrictions on abortions after the first trimester, at the very least. Funding for overseas abortion is opposed by 77% of Americans and even 64% of pro-choice voters. Further, 58% of Americans support the original Hyde Amendment.

Unfortunately, President Biden has abandoned his previous position and promise to defend Hyde, a troubling sign that he is beholden to radical leftist interests rather than the will of the American people. Many in the Democrat majority in Congress have pledged to repeal these life-saving measures, raising the stakes even higher for the battle ahead. If they cannot get their way on Hyde, some have even proposed grant programs to directly fund Planned Parenthood clinics.

In anticipation of the Biden budget request, Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee joined dozens of others in the pro-life community in a letter to House and Senate leadership urging them to guarantee inclusion of the Hyde Amendment and related provisions in FY 2022 appropriations. Nearly 2.5 million precious lives have been preserved since Hyde’s inception. We cannot sit idly by while this Administration seeks to open to floodgates and send our hard-earned tax dollars to those preying on the most vulnerable among us. As appropriations season commences, we must hold Congress accountable for holding the line on Hyde.

SBA Administrator Withholds the Truth on Funding to Planned Parenthood

By | Legislative Updates, News and Events, Sanctity of Life | No Comments

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has obstructed proper Congressional oversight of the COVID-19 Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) through its refusal to share information on over $90 million in total loans to Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA).

At a recent Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship hearing, Ranking Member Rand Paul demanded answers on the unlawful distribution of funds to PPFA affiliates deemed ineligible for the aid program. SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman dodged the inquiry, failing to recognize the critical need for transparency on the use of precious taxpayer dollars. Under her leadership, the SBA approved at least $17.6 million in additional loans to PPFA, including a maxed-out $10 million loan to Planned Parenthood of Greater New York just before the program exhausted funds in early May 2021. This despite ongoing inquiries regarding $80 million in aid yet to be returned by 38 affiliates. Paul underscored the role of the Hyde Amendment to prevent federal money from going to abortions, thus preserving Americans’ conscience protection rights.

The SBA’s failure to enforce the rules against Planned Parenthood sends a clear message. This Administration will stop at nothing to protect the abortion industry’s survival, even at the expense of our nation’s small, main street businesses who are truly in need.

We stand behind the efforts of Sen. Rand Paul and others to uncover the truth and hold bad actors accountable. Our leaders must not stop until funds are returned, necessary legal action is taken, and the proper controls are instituted to prevent such a scandal from occurring again.

View the full exchange: Dr. Rand Paul Questions SBA Administrator Guzman on Planned Parenthood PPP Loans – May 26, 2021