• DC Rep Blasts Republicans Over Opposition To ‘Anti-Discrimination’ Bill

    The District of Columbia Delegate in Congress blasted her Republican colleagues in the House Tuesday for their opposition to a D.C. law they say would force businesses to hire employees opposed to their religious views.

    For the second time this year, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton vowed to fight Republican attempts to block the ‘anti-discrimination’ law with a rider bill attached to the D.C. spending bill.

    “Republicans do not understand how united this city is against discrimination, and they do not need to. They just need to let the district be the district,” Norton said at a Tuesday press conference.

    Last week, The Republican-led House Appropriations Committee passed an amendment to the D.C. spending bill that would forbid the city from spending any federal or local funds to implement the district’s Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act.

    The Republicans argue the bill could force pro-life and religiously affiliated groups to hire individuals who are directly opposed to the mission of their organization. It could even require them to include coverage for elective abortions in their healthcare plans, they say.

    “The D.C. council’s deceptively named Reproductive Health Nondiscrimination Act is the most discriminatory ‘non-discrimination’ law that we’ve seen in recent memory. It is disappointing that Delegate Norton and supporters of RHNDA continue to distort the facts about this law,” Jonathan Frank, a spokesman for Rep. Diane Black, said in an email.

    Rep. Black introduced a disapproval resolution in the House in April that would have, if successful, blocked the D.C. law from taking effect. The resolution passed the House, but didn’t make it to a vote in the Senate in time to meet the 30-day legislative review period.

    All local D.C. laws must be transmitted to Congress for a 30-day legislative review period before they can take effect. The bill will become law at the end of that review period unless both houses of Congress pass disapproval resolutions and the president signs off on it.

    Frank said the bill is just unnecessary bureaucracy, because the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission already made clear that “an employer could not discharge a female employee from her job because she uses contraceptives.”

    “RHNDA is an affront to religious freedom and Congressman Black believes that the House must use every tool at its disposal to stop further implementation of this coercive law,” he said.

    After failing to pass the disapproval resolution, Republicans said they would continue to fight the law through the appropriations process, where Congress has the power to dictate how the federal district spends (or doesn’t spend) its money.

    Norton said she will force a floor vote to remove the rider when the bill goes before the fulll House.

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