“Our message to the Republican leadership is: We are not interested in another vote on this issue that ‘addresses our concern,’ ” Perkins said.
“We want a resolution on this government assault on our first freedom. The House leadership should reconsider its decision not to place this language on the Continuing Resolution.”
In lieu of passing an actual budget, Congress has been funding the government through a series of stop-gap bills, known as Continuing Resolutions (CR). On Wednesday, members of the House passed the latest CR, which does not have language to inhibit the Obama administration from implementing the HHS mandate
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) have refused to allow the language barring funding for the HHS mandate from being included in any Continuing Resolution, opting instead to allow a stand-alone bill to proceed to a vote.
On Tuesday, Perkins was joined at a news conference in Nashville, Tenn., by the principal sponsors of the stand-alone bill, which would purportedly exempt all religious objectors to the HHS mandate.
“We are grateful for the members of Congress like (Reps.) Diane Black (R-Tenn.), John Fleming (R-La.) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.), who are keeping this issue at the forefront by introducing this piece of stand-alone legislation,” Perkins said.
“But the reality is,” he added, “a stand-alone bill will never pass the United States Senate and be signed by the president dealing with this important issue. It has to be on a must-pass piece of legislation like the CR.”
Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) said the stand-alone bill, the Healthcare Conscience Rights Act, would exempt everyone -- including individuals - who object to the HHS mandate on religious grounds.
“I believe that Congress has a responsibility to stand up to the administration’s blatant disregard for religious freedom and pass legislation that will protect our First Amendment rights,” Black said via teleconference link.
Under the HHS mandate, nearly all health insurance plans in the U.S. must include free coverage of sterilizations, abortifacients and contraceptives for all females of reproductive age.
The CR approved Wednesday must now be considered by the Democrat-led Senate.