Make no mistake about it; the GOP establishment does not stand for marriage or even religious liberty in any meaningful way – so long as it requires fighting the radical sexual identity movement. And they only marginally stand for life. Case in point? Their effort to block conservatives from overturning the anti-religious bigotry on display at the D.C. City Council.
As we noted earlier this month, Republicans have the opportunity to stand for religious liberty by overturning two laws passed by the D.C. local government. They can do so with a simple majority in both the House and Senate. We are constantly being entreated to the incessant excuses for why Republicans lack the votes to accomplish anything. Here is a perfect opportunity to stand for life, traditional values, and just plain liberty without facing a Democrat filibuster. In fact, aside from budget reconciliation, this is the only major initiative that can be sent to Obama’s desk with a simple majority vote.
Yet, GOP leadership will have none of it.
What’s at stake?
In early March, pursuant to the 1974 Home Rule Act that granted D.C. a degree of autonomy in governing their affairs, the city council transmitted to Congress a pair of anti-religious-liberty bills for review. The Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act (RHNDA) would coerce all employers within the district to provide abortion-related coverage in their health insurance plans. The Human Rights Amendment Act would require all private schools in D.C., including religious schools, to provide a platform to individuals or groups who wish to promote activities on their campus contrary to the school’s beliefs, such as ‘gay pride’ or ‘transgender day’ events.
On the one hand, these bills could be dubbed as anti-life and anti-traditional values respectively, but they are more than that –they plainly represent anti-liberty. Most every Republican runs on traditional values and every Republican claims to support individual liberty. But GOP leaders are essentially running out the clock on conservative efforts to overturn these flagrant displays of anti-religious bigotry.
On March 18, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), along with Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), introduced a pair of joint resolutions to disapprove and nullify the D.C. laws – S. J. Res. 10 to disapprove of RHNDA and S. J. Res. 11 to disapprove of the Human Rights Amendment Act. Congress only has 30 legislative days to countermand the laws, and the parliamentarians have set that calendar date at May 4.
Accordingly, Republicans have a unique opportunity to force a privileged motion on the floor that is not subject to a filibuster nor can be amended. But time is of the essence. Furthermore, these resolutions of disapproval can only obtain privileged status if they are passed out of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and if the resolutions originate in the Senate first.
Sadly, the committee chairman, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) has not scheduled a markup for either resolution all month, and there are only two weeks remaining. Nobody in leadership is willing to touch these bills with a ten foot pole. They have all offered a torrent of excuses as to why they lack the time to conduct a markup and half-day floor consideration of the resolutions. Evidently, confirming Loretta Lynch and passing the Corker ‘Democrat loin cloth Iran bill’ is of more importance, even though this is the only issue that has a definitive and pressing deadline – and can be sent to the president’s desk with just 51 votes.
Nobody ever assumed that Johnson would have the courage to stare down Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), his home state Democrat on the committee, with regards to the anti-religious bigotry of the sexual identity agenda, but the refusal to take up the pro-life bill is quite puzzling.
The situation in the House is only slightly better. Today, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will mark up the resolution (H. J.Res. 43) to disapprove of the anti-life RHNDA. After dragging their feet for weeks, it looks like leadership will allow the bill to come to the floor, knowing that the Senate has no plans to pass it.
They have absolutely no plans to bring up the companion resolution (H. J. Res. 44) to disapprove of the anti-liberty law forcing the sexual identity movement’s agenda on Catholic schools.
What message does that convey to the D.C. City Council? They will now be emboldened to persecute the plethora of conservative groups with offices in D.C. by passing laws forcing them to violate their conscious.
If Republicans have no intention to fight for religious liberty – much less social conservatism – at a time when it is under unprecedented assault, they should just be honest and open about it. They should just amend the GOP platform to say: “Republicans will only push for life, marriage, and religious liberty to the extent Democrats are willing to cooperate.” That way, conservatives can work to create a party that will actually fight for basic tenets of the Bill of Rights. (See “GOP Leadership Blocking Timely Religious Liberty Bills”, originally posted HERE)