- John McCain: Botched, two-hour execution of murderer is ‘torture’
- House GOP ready to move border bill
- Bomb squad called after live WWII artillery washes on Cape Cod beach
- HAYDEN: Intelligence, evidence and the case against Russia
- Ohio university quiz implies atheists are naturally smarter than Christians
- Rep. Henry Cuellar on border crisis: ‘Playing defense on the one-yard line’
- Activists vow to occupy fast-food restaurants to get higher pay
- Rep. Luis Gutierrez: Senate Dems wary of immigration politics
- Summer camp for 1 percenters: Sushi, limos and shopping at FAO Schwarz
- Colorado gun crackdown law found to be built on faulty data
McConnell wants vote on birth-control mandate
Question of the Day
WASHINGTON (AP) — Conservatives said Sunday the flap surrounding President Obama’s birth-control mandate was far from over, with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell saying he’ll push to overturn the requirement because it was another example of government meddling.
While a senior White House official shrugged off such remarks, declaring the issue resolved and new legislation unlikely, the heated rhetoric from Republicans suggested the GOP would try to keep the debate alive in an election year to rally conservatives and seize upon voter frustration with big government.
“It’s riddled with constitutional problems,” Mr. McConnell said of Mr. Obama’s broader health-care plan. “And this is what happens when the government tries to take over health care and tries to interfere with your religious beliefs.”
Last week, Mr. Obama backed down on a mandate that religious-affiliated employers such as Catholic hospitals and colleges cover birth control in their health insurance plans. In a tweak of the rule, those employees would be offered free coverage directly from their health insurer, but employers would not provide or pay for it.
The White House says the plan won’t drive up costs because birth control, similar to other preventative care measures, is less expensive than pregnancy. But opponents say that unless drug makers stop charging for contraception, the cost is likely to get passed on to employers regardless.
While some Catholic groups applauded the move, including the Catholic Health Association, the nation’s Catholic bishops said it continued the attack religious freedoms — a theme quickly picked up by Republicans trying to wrest control of the White House this November.
“There’s no compromise here,” said GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum, a Catholic and favorite among religious conservatives. “They are forcing religious organizations, either directly or indirectly, to pay for something that they find is a deeply, morally, you know, wrong thing. And this is not what the government should be doing.”
In several televised interviews, White House Chief of Staff Jacob Lew defended the latest plan as the best possible compromise to provide women access to contraceptives and respect the religious freedoms of employers. Churches were always exempt under Obama’s original plan, although religious-affiliated organizations were not.
“We didn’t expect to get universal support of the bishops or all Catholics,” he said. “I think that what we have here is a policy that reflects bringing together two very important principles in a way that’s true to the American tradition.”
Sen. Roy Blunt, Missouri Republican, has called Mr. Obama’s revised plan an “accounting gimmick.” He introduced legislation last week that would exempt any organization with moral objections from providing birth control. Mr. McConnell said he expects such a bill would be vetoed by the president but that he still wanted a vote “as soon as possible.”
Rep. Paul Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman, said there were enough votes in the Republican-controlled House to pass similar legislation.
“If this is what the president’s willing to do in a tough election year, imagine what he will do in implementing the rest of his health-care law after an election,” Mr. Ryan, Wisconsin Republican, told ABC’s “This Week.”
“We’re going to go ahead and implement it,” Mr. Lew said. “And women are going to have access (to contraception) and institutions like Catholic universities and Catholic hospitals will not be in the position that they had feared. I think that’s a good resolution.”
Mr. Santorum and Mr. Lew spoke on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Mr. McConnell and Mr. Lew spoke on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” Mr. Lew also spoke on “Fox News Sunday,” CNN’s “State of the Union” and ABC’s “This Week.”
TWT Video Picks
Second- and third-stringers eye 2016 if front-runner stumbles
- Michelle Obama says money in politics is bad, asks donors for 'big, fat check'
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- Presidents of Honduras, Guatemala blame U.S. for border children crisis
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- EDITORIAL: Detroit's water 'spigot bigots'
- PRUDEN: The Democratic-wannabe mice under Hillary Clinton's feet
- Let it roll: D.C. Council hits Las Vegas on taxpayer's dime, leaves $14,000 tab
- White House readies for House GOP impeachment push: 'Foolish' to ignore
- Hamas rejects Kerry's call for cease-fire; Fears grow others could join fight against Israel
- Brian Kelly, Notre Dame ready for different route to title
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq