Friday, July 11, 2014

Senate Democrats Propose Bill To Overrule Hobby Lobby Decision

On Wednesday, Senators Patty Murray and Mark Udall announced that they have introduced the "Protect Women's Health From Corporate Interference Act" (full text) (summary). The bill is designed to overrule the Supreme Court's recent Hobby Lobby decision by excluding Affordable Care Act requirements from the provisions of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.  The bill provides in part:
(a) ... An employer that establishes or maintains a group health plan for its employees ... shall not deny coverage of a specific health care item or service with respect to such employees (or dependents) where the coverage of such item or service is required under any provision of Federal law or the regulations promulgated thereunder....
... Subsection (a) shall apply notwithstanding any other provision of Federal law, including Public Law 103–141 [Religious Freedom Restoration Act].
According to The Hill, the Senate Bill has 35 co-sponsors.

UPDATE: In a July 16 vote, the Senate failed to invoke cloture so it could move to consideration of the bill. The vote, largely along party lines, was 56-43.  Sixty votes are required to invoke cloture.