Floor Updates

Vitter, Lautenberg, Hatch

HIGHWAY BILL (S. 1813)

Mar 01 2012

10:33 AM

Senator Vitter: (9:57 AM)
  • Spoke in support of Blunt amendment #1520 (conscience rights under PPACA).
    • SUMMARY "The Blunt amendment is an absolutely necessary measure to fix what is very egregious overstepping of the bound of government in terms of the new, newly articulated Obamacare mandate on religion. As we all know through the debate and discussion of the last several weeks, the Obama administration has made it clear that everyone, including persons of faith, including religious institutions, are not only going to be forced to buy a product in the marketplace - and many of us think that itself is unprecedented and unconstitutional - but it gets worse, because they will be forced to buy a product in the marketplace that violates their conscience, that violates their core beliefs. Catholics, many other Christians, many people of faith do not believe in certain activity and treatment that is mandated now to be covered by this mandatory insurance and that is crossing the line that we have never before crossed in this country in terms of government power, government mandates and government intrusion into the conscience of others and to the free exercise of religion. We absolutely need to fix this. This is a fundamental conscience issue. This is a freedom of religion issue and that's exactly why it's so important. Let me also clarify, this isn't merely about contraception. Folks on the other side of the debate and most of the media constantly puts it merely in those terms. Well, first of all, those measures in and of themselves violate the conscience of many Americans but secondly, it's not just about that. It's about abortion. It's about abortion-inducing drugs like plan b. it's about sterilization. Now clearly these measures, clearly the government mandating Americans to buy, to pay for, to subsidize these measures violate the conscience of tens and tens of millions of Americans and that's why we must act, hopefully today, starting today, by passing the Blunt amendment."

Senator Lautenberg: (10:04 AM)
  • Spoke in opposition to Blunt amendment #1520 (conscience rights under PPACA).
    • SUMMARY "We are engaged in the business of the senate, and it's not only - not always discernible that it's the business of the people. when we see what's taking place these days, the principal mantra of Republicans on the campaign trail is that they seek more freedom for the American people. The Republicans like to say they don't want government interfering in people's lives. Then I ask why the devil we are debating a republican amendment that limits a woman's freedom to make her own health care choices. With women the Republicans have a different idea about freedom. They want the government to interfere in the most personal aspects of women's lives. The amendment offered by the Senator from Missouri, the Blunt amendment, it's called, will allow a woman's employer to deny coverage for any medical service that they, the employer, has a moral problem with. Imagine that. your boss is going to decide whether or not you're acting morally. The republicans want to take us forward to the dark ages again, and when women were property, they could easily control trade, even, if you wanted to."

Senator Hatch: (10:14 AM)
  • Spoke in support of Blunt amendment #1520 (conscience rights under PPACA).
    • SUMMARY "Those who support this amendment have been unjustly criticized over the past few days and have been unjustly criticized on a political basis not really on an intellectual basis, unable to win this debate through fair criticism of the amendment, it has been mischaracterized and misrepresented. Opponents are desperate to distract the public from one simple fact: this amendment is necessary because of Obamacare, the health care law that manifests new threats to personal liberty and individual rights with each passing week. it is an indictment of the President's signature domestic achievement and all of those who supported it. Obamacare took over and regulated the nation's health care sector, one-sixth of the American economy. It stripped individuals and employers of their rights to go without coverage and the right to determine what type of coverage they would have. Obamacare is what has brought us here today. The health care law requires that women's preventive services, including sterilization and access to abortion-inducing drugs, be included in health care coverage beginning in 2012. This is a questionable policy in and of itself, like the rest of Obamacare, it assumes that the government is able to provide all good things to the American people through a simple mandate with no consequences for cost or excess. The problems with this mandate were compounded, however, when the administration deferring to its feminist allies, determined that the mandate would apply to religious citizens and institutions. To their credit, these institutions which are compelled by this regulation to violate their moral beliefs, announced that they would not comply with this unjust law. They refused to roll over and allow the government to force them to provide sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs to their employees. Religions should have a right to do that because of their own moral interpretations of religious life. They stood as a witness for constitutional liberty, the free exercise of religion and against an administration that put base partisan politics above our beloved constitution."