February 09, 2012
WASHINGTON D.C. - U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) attempted to introduce a bipartisan amendment today to the federal highway reauthorization bill in order to repeal the Obama Administration’s unlawful health care mandate that violates Americans’ religious freedom.
Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) objected to Senator Blunt’s amendment, calling the debate “senseless” and urging Americans who are concerned about this issue to “calm down.”
Below are a few excerpts from Senator Blunt’s floor speech today. To watch his remarks, please CLICK HERE. To read his amendment, please CLICK HERE.
“I’m disappointed to not be able to offer this amendment today, but it's an amendment that we've been talking about for some time. This is a bipartisan amendment. It was a bipartisan piece of legislation…
“I have the highest regard for both of our leaders, both the majority leader and the minority leader, and understand they have a job to do, but this highway bill is going to clearly take some time. This is a four-page amendment that I’d be glad to see voted on Monday. It’s been widely discussed all week, this week. I would have been glad to see it voted on when I filed the bill in August.
“There wasn't a rule then either, but both Mr. Nelson and I, Senator Rubio, Senator Ayotte and others were anticipating that we were going to begin to see exactly the kinds of things that this discussion this week has brought about.
“This is about the First Amendment. It’s about religious beliefs. It’s not about any one issue. In fact, this amendment specifically does not mention a specific issue. It refers to the issue of conscience…
“In health care, we've never had this before. Why didn't we need this amendment, or why didn't we need the bill that was filed in August five years ago, or one year ago, or two years ago, or three years ago? Because only with the passage of the Affordable Health Care Act did we have the government in a position for the first time ever to begin to give specific mandates to health care providers.
“This bill would just simply say that those health care providers don't have to follow that mandate if it violates their faith principles, and whether it's faith principles that are part of a health care delivery system that could be through any number of different faith groups – and I’ve talked to a lot of them."