The House is back in session this week for the first time after elections! Newly elected representatives are here in D.C. this week for their orientation. Returning Members of Congress are having initial meetings on what to do to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year which began on October 1. Currently, the government is funded through December 11. Leaders will decide whether they will pass an omnibus that will go the entire year and allows changes to be made on how money is spent or whether they will pass another continuing resolution that keeps the money being spent on current programs. Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee is working with House leadership on efforts to try to include conscience protections in whichever spending vehicle moves in the House.
California Abortion: On August 22, the California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) issued a directive mandating that all plans under its authority include coverage for all legal abortions, even if a plan that had previously excluded abortions had been approved by DMHC. This mandate includes religious institutions like churches and is contradictory to the Weldon pro-life rider passed annually which prohibits state or local governments that receive federal funds from discriminating against a health care entity (including health insurance plans) because they do not include abortions. CWALAC is working with Representatives Diane Black (R-Tennessee), John Fleming (R-Louisiana), and Andy Harris (R-Maryland) to get Members of Congress to sign on to a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary (HHS) Sylvia Burwell, urging the agency to act quickly in response to DMHC’s violation of the Weldon amendment. Because it is unlikely that HHS Secretary Burwell will act expediently, CWALAC is urging House leadership to make permanent the Weldon amendment and include the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act in whichever spending vehicle will be considered on the House floor.