Breaking News Emails
For the first time in more than twenty years, the House on Thursday will vote on a measure to strike down a District of Columbia law.
Back in December, the DC City Council passed the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act, which extended protections to workers by banning employers from discriminating against employees' choices with regards to their reproductive healthcare.
Conservatives in the House argue the legislation passed by the Council violates religious freedom.
The House Freedom Caucus, the group of a few dozen conservative members that urged House leadership to take up a vote on the resolution, said in a statement: “RHNDA would discriminate against D.C. residents with pro-life views. RHNDA could force D.C. employers to cover abortions in their health plans and require pro-life organizations to hire abortion advocates.”
House Speaker John Boehner, said Thursday that a number of his Conference members were concerned about this issue.
“The issue is one about religious liberty,” Boehner said.
House Democrats are outraged that the resolution is receiving a vote on the House floor.
“It really makes me angry,” House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi told reporters during a press conference Thursday.
“Allowing employers to fire employees for using birth control of in vitro fertilization or any other reproductive service is an outrageous intrusion into a worker’s personal lives. Seems to me totally inconsistent with the anti-government rhetoric that we hear around here morning, noon and night,” Pelosi added. “This is Hobby Lobby on steroids and Republicans need to recognize that your own healthcare choices are not your boss's business.”
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District's non-voting representative in Congress, also criticized Republican leadership for allowing a vote.
“Not only does this disapproval resolution violate the private health decisions of employees in D.C., it violates the local democratic rights of 650,000 District residents by overturning a local law that matches our citizens’ local interests,” Holmes Norton said in a statement.
The Congressional review period for the legislation ends on May 4th and -- while Congress has the ability to halt laws passed by the DC City Council -- the resolution would need to be passed by both the House and Senate and be signed by President Obama first. This resolution will not be taken up by the Senate and would never garner the president’s signature.
2016 presidential hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) introduced the disapproval resolution in the Senate.