Capitol Update

April 11, 2016Like us on Facebook

Contents Include:
1.  USCCB/JFI Action Alert on Anti-Refugee Bill
2.  USCCB Leaders Urge Support for Conscience Protection Act
USCCB/JFI Action Alert on Anti-Refugee Bill
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and Justice for Immigrants (JFI) are urging Catholics to tell House leaders not to bring a new anti-refugee bill to a vote.  In mid-March, the House Judiciary Committee approved H.R. 4731, legislation that would roll back protections for refugees seeking admission to the United States, as well as for refugees who have already been admitted to the country.
H.R. 4731 would drastically reduce and cap refugee admissions; subject refugees to the possibility of continual surveillance after they have arrived; create new procedures that would change the definition of who is a refugee and potentially indefinitely delay resettlement for many refugees whose lives are in danger; impose new barriers to the integration of persons admitted to the U.S. as refugees; fragment refugee policy by allowing states and localities to stop resettlement to their areas; and discriminate against people based on their religion and nationality, among other provisions.
The USCCB has asked individuals to contact the top two House leaders and urge them to stop this anti-refugee bill.  The USCCB and JFI have drafted an email message that readers can forward.  Alternatively, individuals can contact leaders directly via telephone and Twitter: 
  • Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI): 202-225-0600/ @SpeakerRyan
  • Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA): 202-225-4000/ @GOPLeader
USCCB Leaders Urge Support for Conscience Protection Act
The chairmen of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities and Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, Cardinal Timothy Dolan and Archbishop William Loriwrote to the U.S. House of Representatives last month urging support for the Conscience Protection Act of 2016 (H.R. 4828).
The Conscience Protection Act, introduced by Reps. John Fleming, M.D. (R-LA) and Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), would make the Hyde/Weldon conscience amendment, approved by Congress as part of an appropriations act every year since 2004, more effective and permanent under the law.  It would also ensure that victims of discrimination under that policy, and under the Church amendment of 1973, have a right of action to protect their rights in court.  
The chairmen wrote that H.R. 4828 is "essential legislation protecting the fundamental rights of health care providers...to ensure that those providing much-needed health care and health coverage can continue to do so without being forced by government to help destroy innocent unborn children."
Cardinal Dolan and Archbishop Lori recalled the Hippocratic oath's rejection of abortion in the profession of medicine and noted that conscience protection facilitates access to life-affirming health care:  "When government...mandates involvement in abortion as a condition for being allowed to provide life-affirming health care services, it not only undermines the widely acknowledged civil rights of health care providers but also limits access to good health care for American women and men."
For more on the bishops' promotion of conscience rights, including a recent video about a nurse who was coerced to take part in a late-term abortion, visit www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/conscience-protection.

Capitol Update is a periodic e-mail on legislative issues from the Wisconsin Catholic Conference.


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