Catholic World News

Senate to vote on bid to rescind HHS mandate; Sebelius promises compromise plan 'soon'

February 29, 2012

The US Senate is scheduled to vote March 1 on a measure that would repeal the Obama administration’s mandate that requiring contraceptive coverage in health-care programs.

The legislation, sponsored by Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri, takes the form of an amendment attached to an unrelated transportation bill. It is not expected to pass. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has agreed to schedule a vote promptly, saying that he hopes to “put this extreme and distracting proposal behind us.”

In a related development Kathleen Sebelius, the Secretary for Health and Human Services (HHS), has disclosed that her department will present “in the near future” the Obama administration’s proposal for an “accommodation” with religious institutions that object to the mandate. “We’ve begun outreach,” Sebelius said. “I have talked to Catholic health leaders, I’m reaching out to priests.”

The HHS Secretary did not indicate whether she has spoken with Catholic bishops. The leaders of the US bishops’ conference have disclosed that they were not consulted before the Obama administration originally unveiled its “compromise” proposal. Several political analysts have observed that the administration seems intent on creating divisions among American Catholics on the issue, forming alliances with liberal Catholics who are sympathetic to the Obama plan.

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  • Posted by: winnie - Feb. 29, 2012 6:09 PM ET USA

    It is not just about Catholic institutions - many which are only Catholic in name. What about the Catholic layperson who owns a business?? Is Priests for Life the only group speaking out for us? Benedict said in one of his books before becoming Pope, that the Church through history has had stuff forcibly taken from her hands. The tax exemption has been used as the great cop-out to keep the bishops and priests for speaking out.

  • Posted by: petronius1111718 - Feb. 29, 2012 5:49 PM ET USA

    Exactly who are the Catholic health leaders and priests. I would be willing to bet that they are all liberal dissidents. Why doesn't she discuss this with the Bishops?