The White House announced on Friday that rather than forcing religious employers to fund birth control, it would instead force insurance companies to offer the controversial contraception for free regardless of the type of employment.
GOP politicians visiting the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) were not impressed with the Obama administration’s remarks on the issue.
“Well I’m not sure it is a cave. It looks to me like they’ve taken the mandate off of the back of the Catholic Church and other faith organizations and put it over on to insurance companies and the Obama administration can regulate insurance companies,” Rep. Steve King, Iowa Republican, told me on Friday. “They can deny any insurance policy that they decide. They can also regulate companies out of business.”
Congressman King further explained:
“They can enforce it if it’s the Catholic Church saying, ‘We cannot. We will not obey this unjust law, but the insurance companies are not going to say that. They are profit driven not morals or faith driven and so what he has done is that he’s taken away some of the opposition but now it will be insurance companies complying out of fear of losing their opportunity to do business and it will be Catholics paying premiums to the insurance companies doing the very thing the churches stood in the way of.”
GOP presidential hopeful former Senator Rick Santorum attacked the Obama White House over the issue saying in his CPAC speech on Friday:
“It’s not about contraception. It’s about economic liberty. It’s about freedom of speech. It’s about freedom of religion. It’s about government control of your lives and it’s got to stop.”
Senator James Inhofe, Oklahoma Republican, believes the White House cannot survive such a storm of criticism and believes that the administration hasn’t quiet caved in just yet.
“This just the first step. They will do it, because first and foremost…number one…Barack Obama is a politician,” Inhofe said to me. “His advisors are politicians. He can’t survive this thing if they don’t back down.
Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council put out a statement on Friday and countered the idea that the White House has changed it’s position:
“Insurance companies are not charities. They will be offsetting the costs by increasing the administrative costs of organization plans, and religious employers will still have to pay for those plans.”
“So, goes the old saying, there is no such thing as a free lunch. So there is no such thing as a clear conscience when you violate the tenants of your faith, whether it is in writing or not.”