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Legislative Updates

Senate Dems Deny the Facts About the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act

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On Monday, February 25, the U.S. Senate failed to advance S. 311, the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, sponsored by Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska). The bill needed 60 votes and failed by a vote of 53-44, with three senators not voting: Sens. Cramer (R-North Dakota), Scott (R-South Carolina), and Murkowski (R-Alaska). Sens. Cramer and Scott’s offices informed CWA they were unable to attend the vote due to weather delays. They are both original cosponsors of the bill and would have voted “yes. Sen. Tim Scott spoke at length on the Senate floor the day after the vote, declaring: “This is common sense; this is human decency. This is not an issue of being pro-life or pro-choice. This is being pro-child.” For information on how your senator voted, click here. 

Democrat Sens. Manchin (D-West Virginia), Jones (D-Alabama), and Casey (D-Pennsylvania) joined the 53vote majority, while every other Senate Democrat opposed Born Alive. Their excuses for defending infanticide on the Senate floor were straight from the talking points of Planned Parenthood and NARAL. Many of them claimed this does not happen. Wrong. Documented statistics by the Center for Disease Control say otherwise. Only six states require reporting cases of infants born alive after an attempted abortion, so we don’t know just how frequently this happens, but there is no question that it does. Abortion survivors like Melissa Ohden and Gianna Jessen have testified before Congress detailing their personal stories and asking for protections for babies who survive abortion 

Democrats also claimed the bill is unnecessary, because killing a child born alive is already illegal. While Congress did pass, and President George W. Bush signed into law, the Born Alive Infants Protection Act in 2002, it only defined a “person,” “human being,” “child,” or “individual” as including every infant born alive for the purposes of federal law. But the law did not contain any penalty provisions or requirements. This is the issue the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act seeks to correct. It would give law enforcement the legal tools to bring criminal penalties against a health care professional who fails to provide care for a child who is born alive. Some states do impose penalties, but New York repealed their born alive law, and Vermont is close to doing so. Federal law must address this. 

Here are the facts about the Born Alive Act: It is NOT about private medical decisions between woman and her doctor and does not change abortion laws. It is not about first, second, or thirdtrimester abortions; it is about infanticide. The bill only addresses failed abortions and would not substitute Congress’ judgment for standard medical practice in heartbreaking cases when a child is born but is not viable. It mandates the same degree of care be granted to children who survive abortions that would be given to a child born in other circumstances at the same gestational age, including hospitalizationIt also shields birth mothers from prosecution and grants them the right to take civil action against health care professional who fails to provide this care.   

The Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act is not an extreme “anti-choice” bill. 82% of Americans oppose removing medical care for a viable child after birth, including 77% of pro-choice Americans. Undeniably, Americans widely support this bill. It is now up to the House to correct the failure of the Senate. Speaker Pelosi is standing in the way by denying daily requests to bring this bill to the House floor.  Next month, House Republicans will attempt to force the bill on the floor for a vote through a discharge petition. Please call your congressman today and ask him/her to cosponsor H.R. 962, the House version of S. 311, and sign the discharge petition when it is ready for consideration.  

 

Another Hard-fought Victory This Week – Sex Trafficking

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

This week the House passed a sex trafficking bill (H.R. 1865) that would allow state attorneys general and victims to sue websites that knowingly facilitate sex trafficking. This bill was created to target sites like Backpage.com, which is currently under Senate investigation because of the hosting of ads that promoted the trafficking of minors. The legislation passed changes Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which the first circuit ruled shields websites from lawsuits over user-generated content.

This bill was a fight from the very beginning. Fortunately, human trafficking is a big issue nationally, and generally, everyone agrees it is a horrid practice that must be stopped. However, this issue has a lot of money surrounding it, and that means there are a lot of anti-sex trafficking groups with a lot of opinions about how this type of legislation should be handled. This issue also touched the bipartisan golden child of Congress: the tech industry. Democrat and Republican leadership are both heavily funded by the tech industry, and, unfortunately, they hated this bill when it was originally introduced, so we had our work cut out for us.

CWA worked with Rep. Ann Wagner’s (R-Missouri) office almost weekly for a year, meeting and strategizing how to get people in D.C. on board with something for which states were asking. The original bill was altered several times to appease not only the trafficking groups, but also was altered per DOJ’s request. When it passed, it was supported by all 50 state attorneys general. The final bill is a reflection of what should happen in Washington. Everyone: groups, congressional Democrats and Republicans, and the administration, worked together (eventually, not everyone was on board initially) to make a stronger and better piece of legislation.

We were not happy with the Senate counterpart for the House bill. It is what I would refer to as a “pat ourselves on the back” bill; it seems like it is accomplishing something, and it sounds really good, but ultimately it was not as strong as the House bill, and we had major concerns. Unfortunately, we were one of the few who did have major concerns with only the Senate language, and many sex trafficking groups loved the Senate language, but we vocalized those concerns and worked with Rep. Wagner’s office to educate members and leadership on why the House bill is better.

H.R. 1865 passed the U.S. House by a vote of 388-25.   The Senate will take up the House-passed bill the week of March 12.  Congratulations to Rep. Wagner who led the charge on the passage of this bill.  CWA worked long and hard on this legislation.  We look forward to seeing it through to passage in the Senate, also.

 

CWA Attends Announcement of New HHS Division: Conscience and Religious Freedom

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This week, members of the CWA staff were invited to a special event at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announcing a new division on Conscience and Religious Freedom in HHS’s Office of Civil Rights.  Caroline Aderholt, CWA’s Chief of Staff, was the only non-speaker who was invited behind the scenes to join the speakers and influencers, including the acting Secretary of HHS, Members of Congress and Senators.

This new division will specialize in enforcement and compliance with laws that protect conscience and the free exercise of religion and that prohibit coercion and discrimination. Specifically, this division will deal with conscience objections of healthcare workers who are forced to perform or participate in an abortion in violation with their deeply held beliefs. Additionally, this new division will also focus on the increasing issue of protecting the conscience rights of healthcare workers who object to participating in the gender reassignment process.

This was the result of hard work from so many behind the scenes to emphasize the importance of conscience protection. Thanks to the hard work of our team and the pro-life coalition, the Trump Administration has taken this unprecedented step to protect those who just want to follow their conscience.

What’s the latest on tax reform?

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This week, the Republicans finished up their plan to overhaul the tax code. There is always a lot of work behind the scenes on big issues like this, and CWA has been working with the Senate, the House and the Administration to advocate for a pro-family tax code. Families are the foundation of civil society, and tax reform that is pro-family is an investment in our future.

A huge part of our work surrounds the Child Tax Credit (CTC). Concerned Women for America was an original advocator for the CTC, and we are continuing the legacy of our founder, Mrs. Beverly LaHaye, by continuing to work toward a tax system that does not penalize families. Not only are we working to increase the Child Tax Credit from $1,000 annually to $2,500 annually, we are also working to remove the cap on the number of children for which the credit applies; we are pushing to have this credit apply against payroll taxes, and we are working to get rid of the marriage penalty.

As a whole, this tax reform package must provide a net gain for families, because as any parent knows, having a child is expensive. The Department of Agriculture estimates that for a middle-income family to raise a child born in 2016 until he/she is 17, it will cost $233,610. The national average of the annual cost of childcare is 31% of the median household income, and in 33 states, the cost of infant care is higher than paying for college tuition. Increasing the CTC allows for more take home pay and, therefore, more financial flexibility raising children. For a family with four children, $4,000 annually may not make a huge impact, but $10,000 annually with the expanded CTC may allow a mother to work part time instead of full time and, therefore, spend more time at home with her children.

Ivanka Trump’s office has been leading the charge on this issue from the early days of the Trump Campaign and Penny and CWA’s legislative team (Caroline Aderholt, Ashley Traficant, and Jaime Ballew) have all met with Ivanka personally about modernizing our tax code so that it helps families. Additionally, Ashley and Jaime have been meeting with key Senate and House staff as well as senators and members of Congress to reiterate to the authors of this legislation that the tax code must help families.

Now that the tax reform package has been revealed, we will continue working with the administration, House and Senate leadership as well as with other groups to get the expansion of the CTC and tax reform, as a whole, accomplished.

House Republicans unveil tax reform

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Washington D.C. – Today the House Ways and Means Committee unveiled the Republican tax reform bill, the Tax Cuts and Job Act.  Among many changes, it was revealed that a typical family of four earning $59,000 (median household income) will receive a $1,182 tax cut. The child tax credit will be raised to $1,600 per child from the previous $1,000 per child while providing a credit of $300 for each parent and non-child dependent to help all families with their everyday expenses.

Penny Nance, CEO and President of Concerned Women for America had this to say:

“Thank you House Republicans for working to provide tax reforms that will directly impact the American family. Our nation has not seen an overhaul of our tax system since 1986 – we recognize that this was no easy task.

“I am encouraged by the pro-family focus of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act which will better support American families who are struggling to keep up. An investment in American families is an investment in the future of America, and I hope that continues to be the focus as this bill moves to the Senate.

“Both the increase in the child tax credit and the preservation of the Child & Dependent Care Tax Credit are a step in the right direction. Americans should never be forced to choose between earning a paycheck and taking care of their children or parents.

“Reforming the tax system is not easy, but it is vital, and every step needs to be taken to ensure that money is being given back to hard-working American families. And so I look forward to seeing the Senate take this even further, specifically in the area of the child tax credit. CWA has been working with Ivanka Trump and the Trump Administration on increasing the Child Tax Credit in this tax reform package to $2500 per child. These reforms demonstrate the fact that America’s economy is not only business-driven but fueled by the family.”

CWA on the front lines of pro-family tax reform

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Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee (CWALAC) is encouraged by the tax reform proposals set forth by the Trump Administration. As the framework continues to be filled out, CWALAC is working tirelessly to more than double the Child Tax Credit. We believe tax reform should be pro-family, in addition to pro-growth.

We are working closely with Ivanka Trump, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida), and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), as well as other organizations from varying backgrounds — all united in the belief that pro-family tax reform is an investment in America’s future.

Linked is a joint statement CWALAC signed outlining specifics for enhancing the Child Tax Credit.

We are proud to be at the tip of the spear promoting pro-family tax reform.

 

CWALAC Celebrates Passage of Historic Vote in the House of Representatives

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, as we mark two years since the conviction of abortionist Kermit Gosnell for murder, we celebrate the House of Representatives’ historic passage of the Pain-Capable Unborn Children Protection Act by a vote of 242-184,Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee CEO and President, Penny Nance,  made the following remarks Read More

Legislative Update for April 11, 2014

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House

Debbie Smith Reauthorization: CWALAC is pleased the House reauthorized the Debbie Smith Act. The Debbie Smith Act provides funds to state and local law enforcement agencies to perform DNA testing on rape kits. Testing rape kits is crucial to taking dangerous criminals off the streets and bringing justice and closure to rape victims. The bill is now awaiting action in the Senate.

National Women’s History Museum (NWHM): The Natural Resources Committee marked up and passed the NWHM his week. CWALAC worked with Committee staffers to determine its consideration in Committee. We heard from our friends that House leadership wanted to see this legislation passed quickly through Committee. CWALAC wanted to prevent good Members of Congress from having to go on the record during a Committee vote and agreed with Committee staff this should move as part of a unanimous consent package where a couple of representatives would submit their stated opposition to the legislation. In addition to their statements of opposition, these representatives met with Leader Eric Cantor (R-Virginia) to express their disapproval and ask that this legislation not be placed on the suspension calendar. CWALAC met with 14 offices this week to oppose the NWHM. Act Now: Call your representative and ask him/her to oppose the NWHM. Click here to find your representative. Also, call Leader Cantor at 202-225-2815 and ask him not to bring this to a vote until it has proper safeguards.

Budget: The House voted on several budgets this week. Republicans brought up the president’s budget, which over the past several years has not received a single vote. This year, the president’s budget received two Democrat votes. The House also considered other Democrat budgets from the Progressive and Congressional Black Caucuses. CWALAC supported both the Ryan (which passed) and Republican Study Committee (which failed) budgets.

Senate

Paycheck Fairness: After circulation of an opposition letter written by our CWALAC team, the Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 2199) did not receive the needed 60 votes to advance in the Senate. This is a great victory for CWALAC and all women hoping to continue to cultivate a culture of proper “work/life balance” and foster more freedom in the workforce.

National Women’s History Museum (NWHM): The CWALAC team continues to track the progress and movement of the National Women’s History Museum Commission Act. With Majority Leader Reid ready to push this through on a “fast track,” CWALAC will continue to do all it can both on and off the Hill to ensure that this bill does not come up for a vote on the Senate floor anytime soon! To see why CWALAC strongly opposes this new museum, click here. Take Action: Contact your senator now and tell them you OPPOSE the NWHM.

Legislative Update for April 4, 2014

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House

Abstinence Day on the Hill: On April 3, Shari Rendall joined National Abstinence Education Association and Family Research Council to host a Hill briefing for 45 staffers on abstinence education.  The briefing highlighted the importance of sexual risk avoidance.  In addition, we were joined by Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-Illinois).  He and Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Illinois) are the cosponsors of the Abstinence Education Reallocation Act, which gives money for sexual risk avoidance from an ObamaCare comprehensive sex education fund.  Please call Rep. Hultgren at 202-225-2976 and Rep. Lipinski at 202-225-5701 and thank them for introducing the Abstinence Education Reallocation Act, H.R. 718.  Call your representative and ask him/her to cosponsor H.R.718.  Click here to find your representative.

Religious Freedom in the Military: CWALAC and the Restore Military Religious Freedom Coalition sent a letter to Lt. Gen. Michelle D. Johnson, superintendent of the U.S. Air Force Academy, questioning her about a recent incident where a Bible verse was removed from a cadet’s white board. This was done despite official academy policy, which permits the use of white boards for personal messages.

In the letter, the Coalition asked for a meeting with Lt. Gen. Johnson to discuss what this incident means for religious liberty in the Air Force.

ObamaCare: The House voted on H.R. 2575, the Save American Workers Act, sponsored by Rep. Todd Young (R-Indiana), to protect hardworking Americans from losing wages as a direct result of Obamacare’s 30-hour rule.  ObamaCare has incentivized employers to cut employees’ hours.

Budget Act: The House voted on Rep. Tom Price’s (R-Georgia) Pro-Growth Budgeting Act, H.R. 1874.  This requires the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to provide detailed information on the economic impact of major legislation as a supplement to the CBO cost estimates.

Senate

Sexual Risk Avoidance: On Monday, March 31, the Senate passed (64-35) the “Doc Fix” Medicare Compensation legislation.  This measure includes language that will allow for the continuing of Sexual Risk Avoidance (SRA) funding.  This is a small, yet strategic victory that promotes abstinence as opposed to mere Sexual Risk Reduction (SRR) or “comprehensive sex education.”

Education: This week, CWALAC worked diligently to gather much needed signatures for Sen. Grassley’s (R-Iowa) “Dear Colleague” Letter.  This circulated letter demands that the FY 2015 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bills include provisions that increase parental control and foster greater accountability.  Most importantly, Sen. Grassley’s letter clarifies that all funds appropriated will not be used to develop or implement the Common Core state standards!

Paycheck Fairness Act: On April 1, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pension (HELP) Committee held a hearing on the Paycheck Fairness Act.  Understanding that this bill places undue burdens and regulations on employers, discourages flexible working arrangements, and in the end does not help women, CWALAC is working hard on the Hill to halt this dangerous piece of legislation.

Legislative Update for March 21, 2014

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Both the House and Senate were out of session this week.

Highlights while members were back in the district:

House

After being pushed to vote on the National Women’s History Museum, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Virginia) has agreed to hold a vote on this legislation (H.R. 863) sometime this year.  While the idea of celebrating women is admirable, we are concerned that the content of such a museum would be slanted to represent feminist ideology and would not provide an accurate portrayal of American women. Already, we have a clear indication about the types of women that would be highlighted.  The website attached to this proposed museum references Margaret Sanger nine times and Victoria Woodhull over 20, while referencing Phyllis Schlafly once and not mentioning Beverly LaHaye at all.  It also highlights Sandra Fluke, while ignoring Jeane Kirkpatrick, Kay Cole James, Alveda King, and Star Parker.  The Public Lands Subcommittee will hold a hearing about this legislation next Tuesday.

Act Now:  Please call Majority Leader Cantor at 202-225-4000 and ask him not to bring this legislation up for a vote in the House unless the diversity of opinion among American women about our own history is affirmatively addressed and safeguarded by Congress.

Senate

One year ago, on March 18, Kermit Gosnell and his “House of Horrors” became national news.

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) had this to say:

“It was one year ago this week that Americans across the country first learned the name of a Philadelphia abortionist named Kermit Gosnell. The Gosnell trial shocked the conscience of the nation and awakened many to the dangerous conditions that can exist at abortion clinics nationwide. It prompted a renewed commitment to ensuring that health and safety standards at these clinics are actually enforced, and it led to the humane effort to ensure that late-term babies who have developed to the point that they are capable of feeling pain are protected from rogue doctors and lax regulators alike. At the federal level, this effort resulted in the Pain-Capable Abortion Act, which passed the House last summer in a historic pro-life vote. Senator Lindsey Graham has sponsored a companion bill in the Senate, and I am proud to stand with the Pro-Life Women’s Caucus in Congress and a clear majority of women nationwide in support of this common-sense legislation. It is time for America to join the ranks of most other developed nations around the world and restrict abortion at least at the point at which science tells us that unborn babies are capable of feeling pain. On this anniversary of the Gosnell trial, let’s show the world that we remember those who have been victimized by people like Kermit Gosnell and unite in this positive and life-affirming effort to safeguard the most vulnerable among us. Let’s take up this important pro-life legislation and send it to the President.”

Action: Click here to see if your senator supports the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. If not, call your senators and urge them to support S. 1670.

 

Legislative Update for March 14, 2014

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House

Ukraine: Last Friday, the House passed a bill to provide the Administration with the authority to extend loan guarantees to the government in Ukraine.  This week, the House passed a bill that expressed support for the people of Ukraine and their territorial integrity.  Both bills passed with overwhelming bipartisan support.

Executive Overreach:  This week the House passed a couple of bills that would try to rein in the Administration.  The first requires the Administration to report to Congress when it decides not to execute the laws of the land.  The second gives Congress a way to sue the Executive branch for failure to faithfully execute the laws.  Although President Obama has issued a veto threat, it is unlikely that these bills will reach his desk because Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nevada) is not likely to bring them up for a vote in the Senate.

Air Force: This week, the Air Force Academy forced a cadet to remove a Bible verse posted on a cadet’s whiteboard after receiving a complaint from Mikey Weinstein at the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.  The whiteboards are for personal as well as business purposes.  At a House Armed Services Committee hearing that was supposed to focus on budget issues, Reps. John Fleming (R-Louisiana), Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado), Michael Turner (R-Ohio), Mike McIntyre (D-North Carolina), Randy Forbes (R-Virginia), and Michael Conaway (R-Texas)  expressed concerns and questioned Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James and Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark Walsh about the incident.

Please call these representatives and thank them for their efforts to protect religious freedom in our military. Also, please watch for upcoming alerts on this issue.

John Fleming: 202-225-2777

Doug Lamborn: 202-225-4422

Michael Turner: 202-225-6465

Mike McIntyre: 202-225-2731

Randy Forbes: 202-225-6365

Michael Conaway: 202-225-3605
 
 

Senate

Senate focus this week was on a bill to extend aid to the Ukraine. During the bill’s markup in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, there were talks of adding provisions that would have, if passed, saved First Amendment rights for groups who are in danger of the administration’s proposed International Revenue Service (IRS) rule.

Click here for more information on the proposed IRS rule.

Despite the IRS provision being non-germane, or non-relevant to the topic of the bill, conservatives tried to negotiate one of their top priorities in exchange for Democrats offering one of their priorities, International Monetary Fund (IMF) provisions.

As of Friday, the IRS protections were not added, but the IMF provisions were advancing. Those opposed to the provisions highlight concerns with national sovereignty, while Secretary of State John Kerry urged Congress to approve reforms to the IMF.

Currently, the decision to add IMF is slowing down any effort of congressional assistance to the Ukraine during this crucial time with Russia. The Senate is expected to vote on an aid bill as soon as it returns from recess.

Action needed: Get our message out by becoming active on Twitter. To read how, click here.

Next week the Senate will be out of session.

 

 

 

Legislative Update for February 21, 2014

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Both the Senate and the House of Representatives were out-of-session this week.

House

While Members of Congress were in their districts, Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee (CWALAC) continued to meet with House staff on the Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act of 2014, H.R. 3865.  Since this legislation was only reported out of the Ways and Means Committee the week before, many staffers were unaware of the legislation.  We highlighted the importance of prohibiting the IRS from finalizing its proposed regulation that would restrict first amendment rights of free speech for 501(c)(4) organizations.  During several of these meetings, we had the opportunity to see the power of prayer.  In one office, a staffer shared how his mother was a good friend of Linda LaHaye Murphy, who led her to the Lord on a trip to the Grand Canyon.  Another office shared how they had a preacher on staff and started each morning in their Congressional office with prayer and a devotional.

Act: Please call your representative and ask him to support H.R. 3865.  Click here to find your representative.  And please continue to pray for your elected officials and their staff.  Prayer changes things.

Legislative Update for February 14, 2014

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House

Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act (H.R. 3865): The Ways and Means Committee favorably reported Rep. Dave Camp’s bill on Tuesday, February 11, along a party-line vote.  This bill would prevent the IRS from finalizing a rule that would restrict 501(c)(4) organizations (like Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee) and silence our voices, in violation of our First Amendment rights.  We expect this bill to be voted on by the entire House at the end of February.

Click here to read the letter we sent to the House.

Please call your representative today and urge him/her to support H.R. 3865. To find your representative, click here.

Marriage Week:  This week is National Marriage Week.  On February 11, Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kansas) organized a special order to promote the importance for families of marriage between one man and one woman.  The following representatives spoke on the floor: Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota), Bradley Byrne (R-Alabama), Scott Garrett (R-New Jersey), Doug LaMalfa (R-California), Randy Weber (R-Texas), and Ted Yoho (R-Florida).

Senate

State Marriage Defense: Wednesday, Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) introduced the State Marriage Defense Act (S.2024).  This bill counters the announced policy regarding marriage made by the Department of Justice (DOJ) which states that the U.S. federal government will recognize all same-sex unions, even in states that declare marriage as being between one man and one woman.

This decision by the DOJ violates states’ rights by taking the opinion from United States vs. Windsor made by the Supreme Court and extending it to states whose laws uphold traditional marriage.

To read CWALAC’s support letter, click here.

Action: Please call your senators at 202-224-3121 and urge them to cosponsor the State Marriage Defense Act, S. 2024.  To find your senators, click here.

IRS Proposed Rule: Tuesday, Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) and Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) introduced the Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act, S.2011, along with 37 additional senators; those offering their support include: Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), Sen. John Thune (R-South Dakota), and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).

This bill, like the one introduced in the House, seeks to prevent the IRS from enacting regulations that would silence Americans’ First Amendment rights.

To read CWALAC’s support letter, click here.

Debt Ceiling Increase:  The Senate passed a debt ceiling increase this week, sending the measure to the president’s desk to be signed into law.

Many conservatives are disappointed with the way the debt ceiling talks have concluded. Currently, conservatives in both chambers, who have been fighting for cuts and accountability on spending, are finding their hands tied.  The only real chance at addressing our growing 17-trillion-dollar debt is during the mid-term elections.

 

Legislative Update for February 7, 2014

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This week started off with the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) hurling a direct blow to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The study released by that non-partisan group exposed the troublesome ramifications that come with the ACA and what it will cost the American people.

House

On February 5, the House Ways and Means Oversight Committee held a hearing with Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner John Koskinen regarding the ongoing investigation of IRS targeting of conservative groups and the newly proposed regulations to silence conservative organizations like Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee.

This hearing was the first one since Koskinen became commissioner, and he appeared to be towing the administration’s line by refusing to say whether he would comply with Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp’s request to provide IRS and Treasury documents that would shed light on these newly proposed regulations.

Chairman Camp has also introduced legislation, The Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act, H.R. 3865, that would prohibit the IRS from enacting these regulations.  Please ask your representative to cosponsor and support this bill.  To find your representative, click here.

For more information about the IRS proposed regulations, click here.

CWALAC joined Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado) on Thursday for his first Google Hangout.  We thanked him for fighting for our families and protecting religious liberties.

Senate

Common Core: Thursday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) introduced a Common Core Resolution (S.Res 345) to amplify the importance of keeping education decision making on a local level. CWA’s State Directors have been working to hold their governors accountable for signing away their constitutional rights and handing power over to the federal government.

To read CWALAC’s press statement, click here.

Action: Call your senators at 202-224-3121 and urge them to sign onto Sen. Graham’s Common Core Resolution, S.Res 345.

Iran Sanction Hearing: Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) has appeased the administration by not bring up the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act, which currently has 59 co-sponsors, including 13 Democrats, and would expect to pass with more than 70 votes. Instead, the administration is content chasing after a bone that Iran will likely not give up.

Congress has been very clear that they will put the safety of our ally Israel and the rest of the Middle East first, which is the message that was echoed in this week’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, where senators questioned Wendy Sherman, Under Secretary for Political Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, and David S. Cohen, Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financing at the U.S. Department of Treasury, on nuclear negotiations with Iran.

Action: Call your senators at 202-224-3121 and urge them to co-sponsor — and tell leadership to bring to the floor — the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act (S.1881). To find your senators, click here.

To read CWALAC’s letter of support, sent to Capitol Hill, for the Nuclear Weapons Free Iran Act, click here.

IRS Proposed Rule: This week, top Congressional Republicans sent a letter to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner, urging him to keep a level perspective and not to accept the new Obama Administration proposed regulation that would end 501 c4s, including Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee.

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) has been outspoken on this violation of free speech, speaking on the Senate Floor as a way to alert the American people to what this administration is seeking to do.

Sen. McConnell said Thursday, “And here’s the thing: the administration knows it could never get anything like this through Congress the democratic way, so it’s trying to quietly impose the new regulations through the back door — by executive fiat.”

The new rule would redefine what outside groups can do to silence the voice of conservatives.

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.

House

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.

Senate

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 6, 2013

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House

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.

Senate

The Senate was out of session on its Thanksgiving recess.

Legislative Update for November 22, 2013

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House

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.

Senate

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.