Tag archives: Legislation

How the “Infrastructure” Bill Is a Trojan Horse for a Leftist Social Agenda

by Family Research Council

August 6, 2021

The $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure “deal” that is being floated in Congress right now is very bad news. It not only increases the national budget deficit (which has already ballooned to three times the level seen in 2019), but it also contains a “poison pill” that advances an aggressive leftist agenda on marriage and human sexuality. It is effectively a steppingstone to achieving the Equality Act’s ultimate goal—a total overhaul of our federal civil rights framework to mandate special privileges based on “sexual orientation and gender identity” (SOGI).

Congressional Democrats are pairing this infrastructure “deal” with an additional piece of legislation championed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)—a $3.5 trillion bill that reportedly includes the following items from the Left’s wish list:

  • Universal pre-Kindergarten, which would take children out of parents’ care and enroll them in public education even earlier.
  • Free two-year community college for everyone, including illegal immigrants, which would further incentivize academic institutions over personalized choices for successful career paths.
  • $1.6 billion for teacher certification programs that can be used to exclude any teachers that do not want to promote Critical Race Theory and gender ideology.
  • A nationally-mandated paid leave program that allows employees to take paid leave for almost any reason given, rather than for specific family reasons like caring for a newborn child or taking care of an elderly parent. A national mandate on paid leave may also disincentivize employers to offer their own more flexible parental leave plans that fit their employee’s needs.
  • A permanent expansion of Affordable Care Act subsidies that will directly fund health plans that cover abortion.
  • The potential for either a public option or a side-by-side Medicaid program that will sidestep the Hyde Amendment and fund abortions directly with taxpayer dollars. (See frc.org/families to learn about our concerns with Biden’s anti-family plan.)

Many of the specifics contained in the infrastructure bill and the Sanders bill were released back in the spring as part of one comprehensive $4 trillion economic plan that President Biden positioned as one of his signature progressive priorities. It was released in two parts:

  1. The American Jobs Plan totaling $2.3 trillion, released March 31
  2. The American Families Plan totaling $1.78 trillion, released April 28

From the outset, all of the polices in these two bills have been sold as one comprehensive plan to “build back better.” As these plans got worked into legislation, most of the American Jobs Plan ended up in the current infrastructure “deal.” Then, all of the Families Plan, the remaining parts of the Jobs Plan, and some additional proposals were swept into the $3.5 trillion reconciliation blueprint the Senate has committed to take up immediately after passing a bipartisan infrastructure bill.

President Biden and Democrat congressional leadership are hoping to pass as much of the president’s $4 trillion policy dream from the spring and whatever other liberal goodies are feasible. Whether that comes in two bills (one bipartisan the other partisan), or one partisan reconciliation bill, they will pass as much as they can. That sets up two scenarios:

  1. If the bipartisan infrastructure bill succeeds, it frees up a full $3.5 trillion that can be used completely on progressive priorities, since the $1 trillion in infrastructure spending is already taken care of.
  2. If the bipartisan infrastructure bill fails, the entire infrastructure bill will most likely be rolled into the broader reconciliation bill, making it more challenging to convince moderate Democrats to sign off on major progressive priorities in a bill that could swell to over $5 trillion.

Why defeating the infrastructure bill is important:

  • If the infrastructure bill is defeated, the infrastructure spending in reconciliation would become a top priority for moderate Democrats. This would make it more difficult for the more liberal Democrats to cram radical policies into reconciliation. Although the majority party can set a topline spending number as high as they want, for reconciliation, they will have to choose a number the most moderate members are okay with. If a higher topline number is agreed to, it will force Democrats to pick and choose which programs they include, increasing the likelihood that we will see fewer bad programs overall if the bipartisan deal is defeated.
  • It will be really hard for Senators Manchin (D-W.Va.), Sinema (D-Ariz.), and some others to justify voting for over $5 trillion in direct partisan spending—which they would be doing if all this is crammed into one bill. Known for working across the aisle, both Sinema and Manchin have expressed concern with a $3.5 trillion price tag for reconciliation, making it hard for them to accept an even higher price tag on a purely partisan deal.
  • We should remember that anything in the reconciliation package would be subject to the Byrd Rule (allowing senators to block unrelated provisions), so Republicans helping Democrats pass their infrastructure priorities is saving Democrats from having to make all those provisions compliant to this rule.

Some Senate Republicans insist the two are separate bills, but President Joe Biden, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) have already promised to pair them. Given the limited amount that Democrats can pass in reconciliation without Republican votes, every vote for this bipartisan “deal” creates room for more liberal wish list items in reconciliation.

In short, paying for roads and bridges in the infrastructure “deal” clears the deck for Democrats to focus on the radical policies in reconciliation. If this deal fails, Democrats will have to do roads and bridges in reconciliation. Since the reconciliation process is limited, there’d be less room for their partisan pet projects.

Thus, in this case, a vote for “infrastructure” is a vote for Biden’s entire progressive agenda.

**To tell your Senators to reject this bad bill, go here: frcaction.org/infrastructure

Southern Baptist Convention Opposes the Equality Act

by David Closson

June 25, 2021

This is part two of a three-part series highlighting significant resolutions passed by the Southern Baptist Convention this year that apply a biblical worldview to critical cultural and political issues. Read part one.

Last week, America’s largest Protestant denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), held its Annual Meeting for the purpose of hearing updates from its entities, electing new leaders, and passing resolutions.

Dozens of resolutions are submitted at every annual SBC meeting. Only a handful are accepted by the Resolution Committee and brought to a vote. If a resolution passes, that means the SBC is collectively agreeing to publicly affirm the statement contained in the resolution. Resolutions are traditionally in response to various cultural developments, social ideologies, or legislation under consideration by the United States Congress. One of the prominent resolutions passed during the 2021 convention was to oppose the Equality Act, a piece of legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this year.  

If passed into law, the Equality Act would undermine religious liberty by gutting the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and elevating the contested categories of sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes under federal law. Given the Biden administration’s aggressive support for the legislation, Southern Baptists believed it was necessary to go on record in opposition to one of the most dangerous pieces of legislation proposed in Congress.

You can read all of the resolutions passed by the SBC here. Read the resolution on the Equality Act, reprinted here:

WHEREAS, All persons are created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27), are made to glorify Him (Isaiah 43:7), and, based upon these truths, possess inherent dignity; and

WHEREAS, God’s design was the creation of two distinct sexes, male and female (Genesis 1:27; Matthew 19:4), which designate the fundamental distinction that God has embedded in the very biology of the human race; and

WHEREAS, The Bible gives us clear instruction and boundaries with regard to what constitutes God-honoring expression of human sexuality (Genesis 2:24; Hebrews 13:4; 1 Corinthians 6:9; Romans 1:26-27); and

WHEREAS, Southern Baptists resolved in 2014 “On Transgender Identity” that, “The Fall of man into sin and God’s subsequent curse have introduced brokenness and futility into God’s good creation,” and therefore, as a result some are tempted to question God’s gift of sexuality; and

WHEREAS, The Equality Act seeks to revise the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by adding a prohibition of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity; and

WHEREAS, The First Amendment of the Constitution prohibits the Congress from making any law prohibiting the free exercise of religion; and

WHEREAS, Congressman Chuck Schumer and Senator Ted Kennedy wrote that “governments should not substantially burden religious exercise without compelling justification” in the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA), which President Bill Clinton signed into law after the act passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in the Congress; and

WHEREAS, If enacted, the Equality Act would explicitly exclude RFRA claims in relation to the Equality Act and would explicitly permit the government to place substantial burdens upon religious exercise without having to demonstrate any compelling justification in order to do so; and

WHEREAS, This change in the status of the right to free exercise enjoyed by all Americans, if it were to take place, would bring sweeping and historic changes to religious liberty with devastating effects to this foundational freedom; and

WHEREAS, Faith-based charities whose core religious beliefs about human dignity, sexuality, gender, and marriage shape their ministry policies would be forced under the Equality Act to choose between freely exercising those core religious beliefs or abandoning their ministries; and

WHEREAS, This sort of governmental punishment against faith- based charities for serving the common good according to their cherished beliefs would be unprecedented; and,

WHEREAS, The Equality Act would coerce healthcare providers to participate in and provide abortions, hormone therapies, and other procedures which may violate their deeply held religious beliefs; and

WHEREAS, The Equality Act would undermine the bipartisan, nearly half-century old Hyde Amendment, which protects federal taxpayer dollars from funding abortion; and

WHEREAS, The Equality Act would undermine decades of hard- fought civil rights protections for women and girls by threatening competition in sports and disregarding the privacy concerns women rightly have about sharing sleeping quarters and intimate facilities with members of the opposite sex; and

WHEREAS, By departing from our foundations of civic tolerance this divisive legislation would undermine the ability of Americans who disagree to work together for the common good; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Nashville, Tennessee, June 15—16, 2021, extend love and compassion to those who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender and invite all members of this community to trust in Christ and to experience renewal in the gospel; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we proclaim that Christ offers forgiveness of sin for those who turn from their sins and believe on Christ; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we believe effective Gospel ministry to individuals who consider themselves part of the LGBTQ community requires that we speak to them and about them with respect and Christlike love, while holding firmly to our biblical convictions on these issues; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we, therefore, encourage our fellow Southern Baptists to engage discussion of the Equality Act and related issues with this in mind; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we strongly oppose the Equality Act and urge Congress to reject this dangerous legislation, which represents one of the greatest threats to religious liberty in our nation’s history; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we affirm the role of churches in providing compassionate care, biblical truth, and restorative hope to men, women, and children, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, while joyfully celebrating God’s good design in sexuality as clearly expressed in Scripture.

With this resolution, the Southern Baptist Convention is taking a stand for a biblical understanding of human sexuality, much like they did in the 2014 Nashville Statement. The Equality Act is pro-abortion, threatens the opportunities and safety of women and girls across our nation (especially in sports), and is a direct threat to American religious freedom. Because of these implications, Southern Baptists rightly identified the legislation as “one of the greatest threats to religious liberty in our nation’s history.”

Finally, the resolution makes it clear that Southern Baptist churches desire to love their neighbors who identify as LGBTQ and see them place their trust in Christ. The resolution also affirms the necessity of having gospel-centered conversations about LGBTQ issues in our homes and churches.

In conversations about contentious issues, our approach as Christians ought to be guided by Ephesians 4:15 where Paul encourages us to “speak the truth in love.” In their resolution on the Equality Act, Southern Baptists strike the right balance by telling the truth about a dangerous piece of legislation while encouraging Christlike love to those in the LGBT community.

FRC On the Hill (May 10-14)

by Connor Semelsberger, MPP , Mary Beth Waddell, J.D.

May 18, 2021

Family Research Council wrapped up another busy week monitoring activity in Congress that affects life, family, and religious freedom and being your voice on Capitol Hill. Here are the most important Hill items FRC worked on this week.

Health and Human Services Secretary Denies His Duty to Enforce Pro-life Laws

Last week, the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) fiscal year 2022 budget. HHS has the largest budget of any federal agency.

When Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.) questioned Secretary Becerra about enforcing the federal partial-birth abortion ban, Becerra acted like he didn’t know what a partial-birth abortion is, claiming that it is not a medical term. Representative John Joyce (R-Pa.) followed up with a forceful line of questioning. He read the clear language and definition of the federal partial-birth abortion ban that was signed into law by President Bush in 2003, which prohibits physicians from committing the barbaric practice of partially delivering an unborn child before ending their life. Once again, Becerra denied the law’s existence, instead citing his duty to enforce federal laws and statutes that protect a woman’s right to an abortion. After several more attempts to get Becerra to acknowledge the federal law and his duty to enforce it, Rep. Joyce concluded, “As a physician myself, Mr. Secretary, I clearly understand what a partial-birth abortion is.”

The outright denial of the partial-birth abortion ban’s existence by the very person responsible for enforcing federal health laws is deeply concerning. Especially since President Biden, the man who appointed Becerra to his cabinet, voted in support of the partial-birth abortion ban at least six times during his tenure as a senator from Delaware. Secretary Becerra’s comments at this week’s hearing reflect his opposition to the partial-birth abortion ban in 2003, when he was a congressman. It is evident that he prioritizes his abortion ideology over his duty as a public servant to enforce the law.

For more information on Becerra, see the following FRC resources:

House Passes Bill to Provide Abortion Accommodations Without Religious Employer Protections

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act was passed in 1978 to protect pregnant women from being discriminated against in the workplace. However, pregnant women are still not always receiving appropriate and adequate accommodations. In an effort to make the workplace more accommodating to pregnant women, the House passed the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (H.R. 1065) by a vote of 315-101. Although the basis for this bill is very pro-family, it does contain some concerning language.

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act includes accommodations for pregnancy and related medical conditions. Over the years, courts have interpreted “related medical conditions” to include abortion. Therefore, where this bill creates accommodations for pregnant women, it also creates a mandate to provide accommodations for abortion. This mandate could prove problematic for pro-life or religious employers who have a moral objection to abortion and do not want to provide benefits that pay for abortions. When Rep. Russ Fulcher (R-Idaho) offered an amendment to the bill that would include a reference to already existing protections for religious employers, Democrats wholly rejected the amendment because it would cause many members and outside groups to withdraw their support for the bill. The question still stands as to why Democrats or other groups would reject a pregnancy accommodation bill if religious employers were afforded existing protections in law. In addition, many of the major pro-abortion groups, including Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America, are active supporters of this bill.

This bill will now move over to the Senate for consideration. FRC will continue urging senators to include additional protections or clarification to ensure this bill will not be used against employers with a moral objection to abortion.

Senate Rules Committee Stalls the Corrupt Politicians Act

The Senate Committee on Rules and Administration held a mark-up on the For the People Act (S. 1), otherwise known as the Corrupt Politicians Act. The committee spent over nine hours debating and voting on a multitude of amendments to the bill. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) offered an amendment that would have removed the unconstitutional religious test for individuals who would serve on redistricting commissions. FRC has voiced concerns with this particular portion of the bill and was pleased to see Sen. Cruz offer this amendment. Moreover, we were pleased to see the amendment pass by voice vote.  

Several other significant problems in the bill were not addressed; therefore, FRC remains opposed to the bill. Ultimately, the committee failed to report the bill to the floor for a vote. While this is good news, Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) may still bring it to the floor on his own prerogative. We remain vigilant and continue to watch the bill’s movement and engage the Hill with our concerns.

Other Notable Items FRC Tracked this Week

  • The Senate confirmed Andrea Palm as a deputy secretary of HHS and Cindy Marten to be a deputy secretary of the Department of Education. Both are known to have an anti-life and anti-family record.
  • Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.), alongside members of the Senate Small Business Committee, sent a letter to the Small Business Administration to inquire about the investigations into Planned Parenthood continuing to receive Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans against congressional intent. This letter came after two additional Planned Parenthood locations had received PPP loans.
  • In a departure from precedent, HHS announced that it will be interpreting and enforcing the sex nondiscrimination provisions of Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 to include sexual orientation and gender identity, prioritizing ideology above patient care.

FRC On the Hill (April 19-23): D.C. Statehood and Banking Access for Big Marijuana

by Connor Semelsberger, MPP

April 23, 2021

Family Research Council wrapped up another busy week as your voice for life, family, and religious freedom on Capitol Hill. Here are some highlights from what FRC worked on in Congress this week.

House Passes an Unconstitutional Bill to make D.C. the 51st State

Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 51—a bill that aims to make Washington, D.C. the 51st state—by a vote of 216-208. It was met with fierce opposition from Republican members. No members of either party broke rank, making H.R. 51 a purely partisan bill.

Rep. Andy Harris, the only Republican to represent the state of Maryland in either chamber, voiced his strong opposition to H.R. 51, citing his home state’s initial ceding of land to create the District. He outlined the constitutional problems with making the federal enclave into a new state, especially when land used to create D.C. was once a part of Maryland.

H.R. 51 now heads to the Senate, where only 44 of the 50 Democrats support the bill. FRC will continue engaging with both chambers of Congress to inform members of the constitutional and practical problems posed by D.C. statehood.

Check out FRC’s new resource outlining seven key things you should know about the current campaign for D.C. statehood.

Congress Seeks to Protect Big Marijuana Businesses, Without Debate

The marijuana industry continues to expand as more and more states begin legalizing recreational marijuana. Now, big marijuana businesses have partnered with the banking industry to push Congress for special legal protections. The SAFE Banking Act (H.R. 1996) would maintain the current federal prohibitions on marijuana drug use for recreational or medical purposes; however, it would create a special carveout for businesses that buy and sell marijuana to have access to banking and other financial systems.

This bill passed the House 321-101 with virtually no hearing, debate, or amendments allowed to be offered. The FRC team worked diligently to inform House members and their staff of the detrimental impact this bill would have, including propping up the marijuana industry and further exposing families and children to pervasive drug use. Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.) lead the opposition to this bill, giving an excellent floor speech outlining how its passage would affect families and children. Unfortunately, many members who typically champion socially conservative issues voted in favor of the SAFE Banking Act, placing business interests ahead of the interests of American families.

This bill now moves to the Senate, where Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) plans to unveil a full marijuana legalization bill soon. Fortunately, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), the Senate Banking Committee chairman, has come out in opposition to the SAFE Banking Act and has maintained a constant opposition to marijuana legalization. FRC will work with his office and other senators to ensure that this bill does not reach the president’s desk.

Other Notable Items FRC Tracked This Week

  • The Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to examine voting rights legislation. Senators Mike Lee (R-Utah), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) each gave great testimony and asked questions to counter claims that voter integrity laws are discriminatory.
  • The House Judiciary Committee hearing on enforcing the Voting Rights Act. North Carolina’s lieutenant governor, Mark Robinson, gave a rousing defense of election integrity efforts in North Carolina and across the country.
  • The House Ways and Means Committee hearing on paid leave and child care. Representative Nunes (R-Calif.) brought up the importance of faith-based childcare providers and asked how they could be more involved in addressing childcare needs. 

FRC On the Hill (March 22-26): Senate Moves Quickly to Confirm Biden’s Radical Nominees

by Connor Semelsberger, MPP , Joseph Norris

March 26, 2021

Family Research Council wrapped up another busy week monitoring activity in Congress that affects life, family, and religious freedom and being your voice on Capitol Hill. Here are the most important Hill items FRC worked on this week.

The Senate Moves on President Biden’s Nominees

This week, amidst several votes and confirmation hearings, FRC was hard at work tracking nominations and informing senators on the radical positions held by many of the nominees under consideration. This week, the Senate made progress on several concerning nominees:

Marty Walsh: The Senate voted 68-29 to confirm Walsh as secretary of Labor. The former mayor of Boston has touted his credentials as a champion of the LGBT agenda and often prioritizes it over the constitutional right to religious liberty. Walsh and the Biden administration are now in a position to restrict faith-based organizations from contracting with the Department of Labor unless said organizations comply with their liberal sexuality ideology. See FRC’s blog on Walsh here.

Walsh’s confirmation also means that President Biden now has a full cabinet, with all 15 of his cabinet secretaries confirmed. Although President Trump’s nominees were confirmed earlier, Biden’s nominees have received more bipartisan support, despite being arguably the most pro-abortion cabinet of all time. The delay in confirming Biden’s nominees is likely due to the Senate taking up a second failed impeachment trial of President Trump.

Shalanda Young: The Senate voted 63-37 to confirm Young as deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), a position with significant influence on federal policy and the budget process. Representative Bob Good (R-Va.) had sent a letter to President Biden highlighting Young’s troubling opposition to the Hyde and Weldon Amendments, two longstanding federal pro-life policies. With Neera Tanden’s nomination having been withdrawn, Young could soon find herself as the director of OMB, wielding even greater influence. See FRC’s blog on Young here.

Rachel Levine: The Senate voted 52-48 to confirm Levine as assistant secretary of health at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Only Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) broke with Republican ranks to support the nomination. Over the past several months, FRC had been actively educating senators on Levine’s concerning track record. Levine has a history of promoting abortion and actively speaking out against pro-life measures. Even more troubling are Levine’s radical stances on LGBT issues, which include advocating that children as young as five years old be allowed to change their gender without parental consent. Levine, who identifies as a transgender woman, has already announced intentions to use the position at HHS as a means of advancing this ideology.

See FRC’s resources for more information:

Vanita Gupta: The Senate Judiciary Committee vote to advance the nomination of Vanita Gupta to be associate attorney general at the Department of Justice ended in a deadlocked tie. Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) eloquently stated how Gupta would use her new position to advance abortion while harming women’s sports and religious liberty. The committee chairman cut off Sen. Tom Cotton in the middle of his remarks in order to hold the vote. Gupta now waits to see if the full Senate will discharge her nomination in order to advance towards final confirmation.  

Cindy Marten: The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) held a hearing this past week to assess Marten’s qualifications to serve as deputy secretary of Education during a tumultuous time for all levels of education in our country. Marten has a history of spearheading LGBT issues in the San Diego school district, and Sen. Murray (D-Wash.) directly brought up how she would have the opportunity to break down barriers for LGBT students.

Samantha Power: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a nomination hearing for Power to be the new head of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). As USAID administrator, Power would have the ability to direct global health funding to Planned Parenthood and other abortion groups, which is troubling given her past support for abortion and other anti-life policies. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) also raised the issue of her troubling stance on an anti-Semitic UN resolution while serving as Obama’s UN ambassador.

Other Notable Items FRC Tracked this Week:

  • Congress passed an extension of the Paycheck Protection Program, even after discovering that Planned Parenthood received nearly $80 million in loans despite being ineligible for the program. Senators Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) lead efforts in committee and on the Senate floor to block Planned Parenthood from receiving these loans.
  • The Senate Rules Committee held a hearing on S.1, a massive bill that would federalize elections and completely undermine election integrity. Senator Cruz introduced a letter for the record on behalf of FRC alongside letters from other conservative groups that oppose the bill.
  • Representative Mike Johnson (R-La.) introduced two new bills supported by FRC. One bill would ban damages or monetary awards in lawsuits against religious monuments and religious imagery in public buildings. The other would make it illegal to transport a minor across state lines to get an abortion.
  • The House Armed Services Committee held a hearing on Extremism in the Armed Forces. The chief of staff at the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) testified. Several members of Congress, including Reps. Pat Fallon (R-Texas) and Austin Scott (R-Ga.), went after the SPLC witness over their fallacious hate group designations and internal turmoil. Other members raised the shooting at FRC in 2012 as a direct implication of their targeting of social conservative organizations.

FRC On the Hill (March 15-19): A Radical HHS Secretary, So-Called “Women’s Rights” Bills, and the Equality Act

by Connor Semelsberger, MPP , Joseph Norris

March 19, 2021

Family Research Council wrapped up another busy week monitoring activity in Congress that affects life, family, and religious freedom and being your voice on Capitol Hill. Here are the most important Hill items FRC worked on this week.

The Senate Confirms Biden’s Radical HHS Nominee

This week, the Senate voted 50-49 to confirm Xavier Becerra as the new secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Becerra lacks any significant experience in public health; what he does have is an extensive track record of advocating for pro-abortion policies. The FRC team worked diligently over the past few months to inform senators about Becerra’s troubling history.

Becerra was confirmed with the support of two moderate senators who have voted for pro-life measures in the past, Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Collins (R-Maine). They unfortunately overlooked Becerra’s record and voted to confirm the most pro-abortion HHS secretary in history. Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) lead the Republican efforts to defeat Becerra’s nomination and spoke eloquently on the Senate floor. Cotton highlighted Becerra’s history of attacking pro-life groups while serving as California’s attorney general.

It is no fluke that Becerra’s nomination and confirmation coincide with ongoing aggressive lobbying from the abortion industry. Planned Parenthood has called for the removal of all regulations governing chemical abortions. Last month, the Guttmacher Institute released a long list of policy demands for the Biden administration. Now that Becerra is confirmed, FRC will work to expose Becerra’s efforts to implement President Biden’s radical anti-life, anti-family agenda.

See FRC’s resources for more information on Becerra:

House Votes on Women’s Rights Legislation Without Protecting Women

To mark Women’s History Month, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on two measures advertised as advancing women’s rights. In reality, both measures contain language that poses great harm to biological women. Leading up to the votes, FRC informed members of Congress of the true nature of these bills and their harmful effects on women.

The first measure was a resolution to retroactively eliminate the ratification deadline for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), a proposed constitutional amendment that failed to acquire support from the necessary number of states in the 1970s. The ERA has been touted as a legal cure for all unjust discrimination against women. However, the ERA would do little to advance women in society. Instead, it would mandate abortion funding and eliminate existing legal protections that celebrate the biological realities of women. The measure to remove the ratification deadline passed 244-204. However, the ERA garnered the lowest amount of support it has ever received in the past 50 years, with only four Republicans supporting it.

FRC’s Director of the Center for Human Dignity, Mary Szoch, shared her story of playing women’s basketball at Notre Dame and explained how the ERA would limit the dreams of countless women if it were ratified.

The second House measure was a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, a historically bipartisan bill originally passed in 1994 in an effort to improve the criminal justice response to domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and increase the availability of victims’ services. Unfortunately, this reauthorization bill perpetuates and adds language that prevents it from achieving these goals, making the bill about expanding a radical sexuality ideology, not protecting abuse victims. The bill passed 244-172, with many Republicans opposing it due to the provisions that promote abortion and the LGBT agenda. Representative Tom Cole (R-Okla.) highlighted how the bill did nothing to protect women from being coerced into an abortion from their partners. Sadly, Rep. Ann Wagner’s (R-Mo.) thoughtful amendment to ban sex-selection abortions was defeated by the pro-abortion majority.

The FRC team will continue to inform lawmakers on how these bills could be modified to achieve the goal of helping women.

See FRC’s resource for more information:

Debate Continues Around the Equality Act

The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the Equality Act, a bill that would massively overhaul our federal civil rights framework in order to mandate special privileges for sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI), expand abortion access, and gut religious liberty. If the Equality Act were to become law, it would leave many victims in its wake, including women, children, medical professionals, parents, teachers, students, families (including small business owners), the unborn, churches, religious organizations and schools, people of faith, and even those members of the LGBT community it claims to protect. FRC was instrumental in preparing senators to cut through the rhetoric and explain just how bad the Equality Act would be for our country.

Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.), the Chairman of the Senate Values Action Team, put it best: “We don’t oppose equality, but we do oppose legislation when you take the rights of one and dismiss the rights of others.”

Alarmingly, President Biden has already said he would sign the bill if it does pass through Congress. FRC will continue to monitor the Equality Act as it moves through the Senate.

See FRC’s resource for more information:

Other Notable Items FRC Tracked This Week:

  • The Senate Health Committee voted 13-9 to advance Rachel Levine’s nomination to be HHS assistant secretary. Levine, a biological man who identifies as a transgender woman, has a history of advancing anti-family policies as the secretary of health in Pennsylvania.
  • The House Veteran’s Affairs Committee held a hearing on improving health care for America’s women veterans. Representatives Lois Frankel (D-Fla.) and Julia Brownley (D-Calif.) used this hearing to strongly push the VA to fund abortions. 
  • The Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on forced labor. Several senators, including John Thune (R-S.D.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), raised concerns over the forced labor of Uyghur Muslims in China.

FRC On the Hill (March 8-12): Covid Relief Spending, a Radical Foreign Policy Agenda, and Extreme Nominees

by Connor Semelsberger, MPP , Joseph Norris

March 12, 2021

Family Research Council wrapped up another busy week monitoring activity in Congress that affects life, family, and religious freedom and being your voice on Capitol Hill. Here are the most important Hill items FRC worked on this week.

Congress Passes the American Rescue Plan Act, Sending $450 Billion to the Abortion Industry

This week Congress passed, and President Biden signed, the American Rescue Plan Act, a $1.9 trillion COVID relief package that has more to do with funding abortion than providing necessary relief to Americans. The bill was rammed through both chambers of Congress and despite Biden’s promise of unity, did not receive the support of a single Republican. Throughout the process, FRC worked diligently to add in key provisions that would prohibit taxpayer funding for abortion and promote religious freedom.

The bill includes funding for a litany of things, some having to do with the pandemic such as testing, vaccines, and economic relief in the form of stimulus checks. However this relief is held hostage by the  billions that lack bipartisan restrictions on federal funding for abortion. For the first time in decades, taxpayer money can and likely will go to directly paying for ending the lives of the unborn. This in addition to the $10 billion that can be used to lobby for abortion overseas. The FRC team spent the week informing senators and members of Congress about just how much this bill subsidizes the abortion industry.

While Biden is trumpeting this bill as a “historic victory” for Americans, it is a devastating loss for the unborn and the consciences of Americans who do not want their taxpayer funds paying for the horrific practice of abortion.

See FRC’s resource for more information:

Secretary of State Charts out Biden’s Radical Foreign Policy Agenda

Secretary of State Antony Blinken appeared before the House Foreign Affairs Committee to highlight the foreign policy priorities of the Biden administration. Right from the beginning in his opening statement, Blinken openly stated the goals of promoting “women’s reproductive rights” and advancing “LGBT rights” across the globe. As a result, FRC has been tracking the Biden administration’s foreign policy actions to make transparent how dramatic of a shift this is from the policies implemented under the Trump administration.

Congressman Chris Smith (R-N.J.), a strong advocate for the unborn, directly challenged Blinken’s support for countries with population control programs and urged the administration to “speak out” against China and their forced abortion policy. Rather than committing to taking action, Blinken repeated his pledge that we need to focus on human rights across the globe.

The White House also took action this week to entrench a radical sexuality ideology by establishing a new Gender Policy Council via Executive Order. The stated goals of the Council include advancing gender identity and abortion in both domestic and foreign policy. The report stated the need to “promote sexual and reproductive health and rights” across the globe.

Biden’s Executive Orders and Blinken’s statements during the House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing showcase the unilateral action the Biden administration plans to take on abortion and human sexuality. This is a far cry from Biden’s promise of unity and Blinken’s repeated promise to work with Congress.

The Senate Continues to Advance Biden’s Radical Nominees

This week, FRC was focused on informing senators about the radical positions of Biden’s nominees, as they are up for confirmation in the Senate. While many of Biden’s picks are concerning, these are the individuals chosen who warrant the most concern:

Shalanda Young: Nominated to be deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, Young was advanced by the Senate Homeland Security Committee despite all Republicans present voting no. Senator Lankford provided great remarks explaining their opposition, highlighting Young’s shocking opposition to the Hyde Amendment and other protections against forcing doctors to perform abortions. See FRC’s blog on Young here.

Marcia Fudge: The Senate voted 66-36 to confirm Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) as the next Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Based on her record in Congress, there are deep concerns that Fudge will roll back protections for religious liberty in the name of LGBTQ equality. See FRC’s blog on Fudge here.

Merrick Garland: Confirmed by a 70-30 vote to be the next U.S. Attorney General, Garland passed with bipartisan support. This is in spite of reservations about a repeat of the Obama administration’s Justice Department.

Xavier Becerra: With a radical track record, Becerra needed a discharge petition vote of 51-48 to bring his nomination to the Senate floor, after a deadlocked vote in the Senate Finance Committee. Despite grave concerns over Becerra’s strong history supporting abortion, both Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), and Susan Collins (R-Maine) who have supported pro-life legislation in the past, publicly supported his nomination. See FRC’s blog on Becerra here.

Other Notable Items FRC Tracked This Week

  • The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on Vanita Gupta to be an associate attorney general. Gupta has taken radical positions on drug legalization and religious freedom protections.
  • The House Appropriations Committee held a hearing on expanding veterans access to fertility services with a goal of expanding in-vitro fertilization procedures for veterans without pro-life restrictions to protect human embryos from being destroyed.
  • The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on loosening federal policies on controlled substances. Democrat leaders used the hearing to push legalizing marijuana as a social justice issue. 

American Rescue Plan Act Spends Over $450 Billion that Can Fund Abortions

by Connor Semelsberger, MPP

March 10, 2021

While the American Rescue Plan Act includes funding for testing, vaccines, and other health care equipment as well as economic relief for families like stimulus checks and an expansion of the Child Tax Credit, it comes at the expense of the lives of the unborn.

The American Rescue Plan Act lacks key abortion funding restrictions on over $459 billion, breaking decades of congressional precedent on restricting federal funding for abortion.  

1. Funds that Can Directly Pay for Abortions (Up To $386.7 Billion):

  • $350 billion in funding for state and local governments with little to no guardrails against funding abortions. The funding formula is tilted towards blue states like California and New York who are more likely to abuse this money to fund abortions directly and bail out Planned Parenthood the abortion industry.
  • $8.5 billion for the Provider Relief Fund, which could be used to directly finance abortions as well as to bail out abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood
  • $7.66 billion for public health workers
  • $7.6 billion for community health centers
  • $800 million for National Health Service Corps
  • $750 million for global health activities under the Center for Disease Control
  • $500 million for rural health clinics
  • $330 million for Teaching Health Centers that operate Graduate Medical Education
  • $200 million for medical reserve corps
  • $200 million for the nurse corps
  • $200 million for programs related to sexual assault and domestic violence
  • Amounts of $10 billion for COVID medical supplies that remain after September 2022 are allowed to be spent on other public health-related activities which can include abortion.

2. Funds that Can Subsidize Abortion ($704 Million) and Abortion Lobbying ($10 Billion) Overseas:

  • $10 billion in foreign assistance funds not subject to the Siljander Amendment, allowing these funds to be used for international abortion lobbying.
    • Of these funds, $500 million in humanitarian response activities for migrants and refugees by the United Nations also lack Helms Amendment protections to prevent the UN from using these funds to pay for abortions.
    • Of these funds, $204 million for State Department Activities also lack Helms Amendment protections, allowing these funds to be used for abortions abroad.
    • Of these funds $8.7 billion can be spent on contraception and sterilization procedures overseas and are likely to go to the major abortion business like International Planned Parenthood and MSI Reproductive Choices that provide these services.

3. Major Subsidies for Health Plans that Cover Abortion ($81.7 Billion):

  • For 2021 and 2022, vastly expands Obamacare’s premium tax credits and cost sharing reduction payments, which subsidizes plans that cover abortion. The Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimates these subsidies to cost $45.624 billion.
    • Those under 150% of federal poverty level (FPL) would receive a 100% taxpayer subsidy to enroll in silver plans.
    • Those unemployed of any income level (for 2021) would receive a 100% taxpayer subsidy to enroll in a silver plan, and enhanced cost-sharing reduction payments.
    • Those between 150% and 400% FPL would receive a much more generous subsidy than current law.
    • Middle class taxpayers above 400% FPL, ineligible under current law, would become newly eligible for a significant subsidy so that the benchmark silver premium doesn’t exceed 8.5% of household income.
  • For six months, subsidizes 100% of the cost of COBRA continuation coverage. This subsidy covers the cost of health care premiums for the newly unemployed to remain on their employer sponsored health plans, which includes many plans that cover abortion. JCT estimates these subsidies to cost $35.095 billion.

4. Bailout for Abortion Businesses ($50 Million)

  • $50 million for the Title X family planning program – The Biden administration will likely direct these funds to Planned Parenthood and other abortion businesses that withdrew from Title X over pro-life changes that were made by the Trump administration. Longstanding requirements on political lobbying, encouraging parental involvement, and reporting sexual abuse are not included.

Arkansas Is on Its Way to Protecting All Unborn Life

by Mary Jayne Caum

March 4, 2021

That government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” - President Abraham Lincoln

Yesterday, the Arkansas House of Representatives followed the will of the Arkansas citizenry and voted to protect an inherent right of all people: the right to life.

Recognizing that life begins at conception, AR SB 6, the Arkansas Unborn Child Protection Act, sponsored by Senator Jason Rapert and Representative Mary Bentley, specifically calls on the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the erroneous decisions of Roe, Doe, and Casey. Anticipating critics’ claim that stare decisis must stand and past Supreme Court decisions are untouchable, SB 6 provides a brief history to answer this claim by detailing in the legislative findings the Supreme Court’s egregious mistakes of the past: Dred Scott and Plessy v. Ferguson. SB 6 explains how the Supreme Court denied the personhood of African Americans throughout the United States in the Dred Scott decision and later reaffirmed this racist and inhumane position when it denied African Americans equal protection in Plessy’s “separate but equal” doctrine. By highlighting these two decisions of the Court, not only does SB 6 explain how our top court has erred, but it places Roe, Doe, and Casey alongside Dred Scott and Plessy as atrocious decisions. As SB 6 explains, the American people have corrected the judicial sins of Scott and Plessy, and the Supreme Court has overturned these unjust precedents.

The erroneous stare decisis of Scott and Plessy were overturned and invalidated by the Civil War Amendments and Brown v. Board of Education. SB 6 calls on the Supreme Court to again listen to the American people and overturn the Roe, Doe, and Casey decisions. By criminalizing abortion at all stages except when the life of the pregnant mother is at risk, the Arkansas legislature has upheld the ideals of our Declaration of Independence and Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address by legally recognizing the government’s responsibility to honor and protect all people’s right to life, including the unborn. While explicitly protecting the pregnant women whom the abortion was performed on from prosecution, SB 6 designates the crime of abortion as an “unclassified felony.” The penalty for committing this felony of abortion is either a fine of $100,000 or up to 10 years imprisonment, or both. By criminalizing this crime against humanity, SB 6 punishes the perpetrator while protecting both the mother and child from legal or physical harm.

SB 6 is a bold bill that, if signed by Governor Asa Hutchinson, would demonstrate the will of a number of American people that the government should protect innocent lives, not sanction their destruction. While calling on the Supreme Court to overturn the bad precedent of Roe, Doe, and Casey, SB 6 outlines how the Court has made horrific mistakes in the past—such as Scott and Plessy—that were later corrected by the American people through both the legislature and the judiciary. In Roe, Doe, and Casey, the Court should do the same. Although our government has ignored the will of the American people and the cries of her massacred unborn children for almost 50 years now, SB 6 marks a return to government of, by, and for the people. By calling on the Supreme Court to overturn mistaken and dangerous precedent, SB 6 is upholding the ideals of government of and by the people. By protecting our most vulnerable, SB 6 signals the return of government for the people.

We pray SB 6 and many more like it are enacted and the Supreme Court overturns its erroneous rulings so government for the people—including innocent unborn people—shall not perish from the earth.

Arkansans, please tell Governor Asa Hutchinson to sign SB 6 and enact this historic pro-life bill!

Mary Jayne Caum is a Government Affairs Research Assistant at Family Research Council.

Of Dogs and Unborn Babies

by Mary Jayne Caum

November 19, 2020

For the last two weeks, fallout from the election chaos has dominated the news cycle. Because of this, state and local initiatives have largely gone unnoticed. But two important laws were on the ballot in Colorado: (1) Proposition 115 and (2) a repeal of Denver’s pit bull ban.

Proposition 115 was a state-wide initiative to ban late-term abortions throughout Colorado. If successful, it would have been illegal to commit an abortion in Colorado once an unborn child reaches 22 weeks gestation. Proposition 115 specified that committing an abortion on an unborn child who has reached at least 22 weeks gestation would be a misdemeanor and any abortionists who violated this law would be subjected to professional penalties including suspension of their medical license. Of course, the measure did exempt from prosecution the woman who underwent the abortion. It also allowed an abortion after 22 weeks gestation when the life of the mother was at risk. Despite scientific and philosophical support for banning these late-term abortions, Colorodans voted to continue the dangerous and deadly practice.           

In Denver, Colorado, another measure was in the hands of the citizenry. For 30 years, it has been illegal to own a pit bull in Denver. This law banning pit bulls resulted from several pit bull attacks in Colorado in the 1980s, and the stigma surrounding certain breeds including pit bulls. For years, pit bulls have been stigmatized as an inherently aggressive breed waiting to tear you limb from limb. However, the facts simply do not align with this myth. The National Geographic reports that there is no scientific evidence to support the idea that pit bulls are inherently aggressive and dangerous. Changing attitudes towards pit bulls combined with widespread initiatives to destigmatize the breed resulted in Denver’s decision to lift the ban on pit bulls. Personally, this author supports Denver’s decision to allow pit bulls. As a dog mom, it warms my heart to see dogs rescued, given a chance, or destigmatized. While I applaud the people of Denver’s decision to legalize pit bulls, I do find Colorado’s stance on human life and animal life troubling.            

An unborn child is viable somewhere around 22-24 weeks gestation. Neonatal medicine defines viability, “as the gestational age at which there is a 50% chance of survival with or without medical care.” Therefore, last week in Colorado, the voters elected to continue aborting viable babies while lifting a ban on pit bull ownership in Denver. Critics may claim I am comparing apples and oranges. Colorado is not populated by Denver alone. However, almost 6 million people live in Colorado, while almost 3 million people live in metro Denver. So it is safe to say that the attitudes of individuals in metro Denver represents the mindset of at least half of Colorado. With that in mind, let us return to the point of this article: the inherent worth of a child vs. the inherent worth of an animal.

As a Christian, I believe both man and beast have value. However, man is worth so much more. Because humans are made in the image of God, we have inherent worth and dignity. Our value is so great, God sacrificed His holy and glorious Son and raised Him from the dead to purchase us from the grips of sin and death. While reflecting upon His creation, God deemed nature and its animals “good” while praising man as “very good.” No matter how much we try to devalue life in our society, men and women are inherently priceless and imbued with a dignity God did not bestow on any of His other creations.

This is not to say we should be cruel to our animals. One of the wisdom books in the Bible espouses its readers, “the righteous care for the needs of their animals.” Therefore, according to God’s Word, one of the distinguishing features of a righteous person is the manner in which he treats animals. For this reason, I rejoice when another shelter dog is rescued, a dog fight organizer is prosecuted, and a pit bull is allowed to be loved.

However, we cannot confuse our duty to properly care for animals with the inherent worth and dignity of our fellow man. After creating man, God exhorted Adam to have dominion over the animals God created. Abortion fundamentally rejects the dignity and worth of every human being. Instead of recognizing the humanity of every unborn child, we devalue and sacrifice our unborn children in the name of convenience, preference, and career advancement. As a society, we cannot continue down this path of devaluing human life. 

While we pat ourselves on the back for being progressive and rejecting the fallacious notion that certain dog breeds are inherently aggressive, let us not forget our fellow man. It is a well known fact that when an abortion is committed against a child around 22 weeks gestation, the abortionist’s preferred method of murder is dismemberment abortion (also known as D&E: dilation and evacuation abortion). Although Denver was correct to statutorily reject the idea that pit bulls inherently desire to tear humans limb from limb, Colorado was wrong to leave unborn infants vulnerable to abortionists who tear these innocent children limb from limb.

Sadly, I believe the prophetic words of G.K Chesterton have been realized, “Wherever there is animal worship there is human sacrifice.” Let us reverse this trend of human sacrifice. Let us honor our Creator by protecting His creation: both animal and human. While enjoying the companionship of our furry friends, we should continue to recognize the inherent worth and dignity of each human individual—born and unborn.

Mary Jayne Caum works in State & Local Affairs at Family Research Council.

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