CV NEWS FEED // Buried in the language of President Biden’s Build Back Better Act is a clause that prohibits religious organizations from making use of the bill’s funding.
The controversial bill will provide massive amounts of taxpayer funding for numerous social programs, including expansions of childcare and a proposed new “universal pre-Kindergarten” provision. Religious facilities such as schools and charities which operate chapels, however, will be blocked from funding.
The legislation’s text states that “child care providers may not use funds for buildings or facilities that are used primarily for sectarian instruction or religious worship,” according to the New York Post:
Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) tried to fight the ban by proposing a Religious Freedom Amendment — but it failed to pass in September during the Ways and Means Committee markup, Fox News reported.
“The congressman was disappointed that Democrats wouldn’t grant such a simple request to help our children during previous negotiations,” a spokesperson for Kelly told the outlet. “His Religious Freedom Amendment was an inclusive bill that would have given parents greater choice and allow them to pick a child care service that was best for them.”
While religious institutions will likely be left out of the massive spending which the Build Back Better Act represents, CatholicVote Director of Government Affairs Tom McClusky has expressed concerns about the institutions that will receive funding — some to an unprecedented degree — including abortion groups like Planned Parenthood and LGBTQ activist organizations.
“Billions in grants are open to abortion providers as well as to be used for expanding state exchanges that were first created under Obamacare – none of which have federal restrictions against taxpayer dollars being used to subsidize plans that pay for abortions,” McClusky told CatholicVote. “In addition, the bill puts abortion giant Planned Parenthood into the state exchanges as a provider! That means the nation’s largest abortion provider can provide even more death – now at taxpayer expense.”
“That is not the worst part though,” McClusky said. “The bill seeks to mandate abortion coverage through Obamacare for the Medicaid population for 2024 and 2025.”
“Since 1976 Medicaid has been prohibited from being spent on abortions,” he said, “thanks to the life-saving Hyde amendment which has been included in annual appropriations for the last 4 decades.”
The Hyde Amendment, however, has been systematically excluded from a number of funding projects since President Biden took office, with leading Democrats — including the president — engaging in a campaign against the provision.
The Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the use of taxpayer dollars to fund most abortions, has been included on a bipartisan basis with spending bills for decades. The Democrats’ new goal of dropping Hyde from their spending bills has been decried repeatedly by leading Catholics, including members of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
House Speaker Pelosi has had difficulty collecting the necessary votes to pass the new legislation, but a vote is expected sometime in the next two weeks.
News photo credit: Gage Skidmore