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Democrats Continue to Box Out Bipartisan Solutions

Today, Committee Democrats held a markup on two bills, one of which Republicans were completely denied an opportunity to engage in bipartisan talks. While the first bill, H.R. 2694, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, has been improved, it lacks necessary religious safeguards that the Civil Rights Act guarantees. The other bill, H.R. 5191, the Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act of 2019, is a proposal that is full of empty funding promises, does not adequately address the impact of substance use disorder on these children, and lacks important accountability measures.

During consideration of H.R. 2694, Republican Leader Virginia Foxx (R-NC) said:

“Republicans support protections in federal law for pregnant workers, and we believe employers should provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers. …[W]e commend the Chairman for the improvements to H.R. 2694 that have been made to date. Unfortunately, despite our agreement on these changes, there remains an important outstanding issue which needs to be resolved. The bill should include a narrow but long-standing provision from the Civil Rights Act that is not currently incorporated in H.R. 2694 which protects religious organizations from being forced to make employment decisions that conflict with their faith.”

During debate on H.R. 2694, Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN) stated:

“We support the provisions contained in the Chairman’s [amendment] and appreciate the bipartisan negotiations that took place to get this bill to where it is today. …Unfortunately, despite agreement on these changes, there remains an important outstanding issue that needs to be resolved. …We should be mindful of protecting religious liberty and maintaining a protection in this bill like those found in other, similar laws.”
During consideration of H.R. 5191, Republican Leader Virginia Foxx (R-NC) said:

 “The Democrats’ bill promises funding levels they know will never be reached during the life of the reauthorization. The bill also fails to include important accountability measures. That is why we [offered] an amendment that …will better help youth harmed by sexual exploitation and substance use disorder; require grantees to follow non-discrimination laws; and protect taxpayer dollars from waste, fraud, and abuse.”
During debate on H.R. 5191, Rep. Fred Keller (R-PA) stated:

“As has been emblematic of the House Majority this session, we are once again considering a partisan messaging bill. …[I]t is particularly frustrating that we were not allowed an opportunity to work on this bill in a bipartisan manner [because] we actually agree with our colleagues on the other side of the aisle that we should help protect American youth from the dangers homelessness presents.”


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