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Rubio, Lee, Colleagues Ask Appropriations Chairman to Hold the Line on Life and Religious Liberty Protections

May 22, 2019 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Mike Lee (R-UT), along with their Senate colleagues, requested Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL), to retain long-standing pro-life and religious freedom protections in all Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations bills that advance out of the committee.
The 25 senators who signed the letter include: Sens. John Barrasso (R-WY), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Mike Braun (R-IN), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Steve Daines (R-MT), Michael Enzi (R-WY), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), James Inhofe (R-OK), James Lankford (R-OK), Mike Lee (R-UT), Rand Paul (R-KY), Rob Portman (R-OH), James Risch (R-ID), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Michael Rounds (R-SD), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Rick Scott (R-FL), Tim Scott (R-SC), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Roger Wicker (R-MS).
The full text of the letter is below.
Dear Chairman Shelby,
As the Senate Appropriations Committee drafts legislation for Fiscal Year 2020, we urge you to retain all long-standing pro-life and religious freedom protections in all appropriations bills that advance out of the Appropriations Committee. We also ask that you do not advance as bill text any language that weakens pro-life and religious liberty actions taken by the Trump administration.
The unborn are the most vulnerable members of our society, yet they are under attack. In 2015 alone, 638,169 unborn children lost their lives to abortion. This is a terrible tragedy, and we must continue to prevent federal funding from supporting the unjust practice of elective abortion.
Furthermore, the right to live and worship in accordance with one’s religious beliefs is a bedrock principle of the American founding. The First Amendment of the Constitution prohibits Congress from interfering in the free exercise of religion. With this in mind, it is critical to retain the longstanding riders in appropriations legislation that safeguard the ability of citizens to live out their faith.
Additionally, we request that no riders be added that would threaten the Trump administration’s Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance policy. This policy prevents federal funds from being directed to organizations that provide abortions or advocate for abortion policies overseas. A Marist poll conducted earlier this year showed that 75 percent of Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortion abroad.  Similarly, we urge you not to include any language that jeopardizes the administration’s pro-life Title X rule or its conscience rule. These rules also offer important pro-life protections that must be maintained.
President Trump has committed to veto any legislation that weakens current pro-life Federal policies and laws. Similarly, we remain committed to ensuring that no such legislation ever makes it to the President’s desk and will carefully review each appropriation bill to verify that they preserve pro-life and religious liberty protections that the Senate’s pro-life majority has supported for decades.