Republicans in Senate Block Hobby Lobby "Fix" Bill

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Common Dreams

Republicans in Senate Block Hobby Lobby "Fix" Bill

Senate fails to approve bill to restore contraception access

Sen. Patty Murray speaking on Senate floor(Photo: Senate Democrats/Flickr/Creative Commons)

The U.S. Senate on Wednesday failed to approve a bill that would have restored contraceptive access in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby ruling last month.

The Protect Women's Health from Corporate Interference Act failed to pass with a 56-43 vote, largely along party lines. Republicans blocked the measure as Democrats failed to reach the minimum requirement of 60 approving votes to move it forward in the legislative process.

Introduced last week by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Washington) and Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colorado), and nicknamed the Not My Bosses' Business Act, the measure stated that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act did not allow employers to refuse to provide specific health care, as required by federal law.

The Supreme Court ruled last month that private businesses could refuse to cover the costs of their employees' birth control if doing so conflicted with their religious beliefs.

Senate Republicans who opposed the measure said it would restrict religious freedom.

"In America, you shouldn’t be forced to choose between giving up your business for your faith or giving up your faith for your business,” Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Missouri) said before the vote. “The government has no right — under the Constitution, under the political heritage of the country, under the things that this country was built to stand for — the government has no right to ask people to make that choice.”

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire) argued that women are less likely to obtain certain kinds of health care due to prohibitively high cost.

“When you charge women more for contraception coverage, then you are denying them access to that care," Shaheen said.

ACLU director Laura W. Murphy called the Hobby Lobby decision "an unprecedented move," and said the vote against the bill was political.

“A small number of senators chose politics over women’s health today by refusing to allow debate on this bill to move forward," Murphy said. "It’s encouraging that a majority of the Senate voted to ensure that all women have access to affordable contraception, and we must build on that momentum as we continue to fight for the rights of all working women.”

Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families, called the vote "an outrageous and stunning loss not just for women, but for the country."

The Senate's failure to pass the bill "was a painful reminder of how far we have to go before women’s health is no longer politicized," Ness said.

Udall tweeted:

If the measure had passed in the Senate, it would almost certainly have failed in a Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

The roll call for the vote follows:

Alphabetical by Senator Name

Alexander (R-TN), Nay
Ayotte (R-NH), Nay
Baldwin (D-WI), Yea
Barrasso (R-WY), Nay
Begich (D-AK), Yea
Bennet (D-CO), Yea
Blumenthal (D-CT), Yea
Blunt (R-MO), Nay
Booker (D-NJ), Yea
Boozman (R-AR), Nay
Boxer (D-CA), Yea
Brown (D-OH), Yea
Burr (R-NC), Nay
Cantwell (D-WA), Yea
Cardin (D-MD), Yea
Carper (D-DE), Yea
Casey (D-PA), Yea
Chambliss (R-GA), Nay
Coats (R-IN), Nay
Coburn (R-OK), Nay
Cochran (R-MS), Nay
Collins (R-ME), Yea
Coons (D-DE), Yea
Corker (R-TN), Nay
Cornyn (R-TX), Nay
Crapo (R-ID), Nay
Cruz (R-TX), Nay
Donnelly (D-IN), Yea
Durbin (D-IL), Yea
Enzi (R-WY), Nay
Feinstein (D-CA), Yea
Fischer (R-NE), Nay
Flake (R-AZ), Nay
Franken (D-MN), Yea
Gillibrand (D-NY), Yea
Graham (R-SC), Nay
Grassley (R-IA), Nay
Hagan (D-NC), Yea
Harkin (D-IA), Yea
Hatch (R-UT), Nay
Heinrich (D-NM), Yea
Heitkamp (D-ND), Yea
Heller (R-NV), Nay
Hirono (D-HI), Yea
Hoeven (R-ND), Nay
Inhofe (R-OK), Nay
Isakson (R-GA), Nay
Johanns (R-NE), Nay
Johnson (D-SD), Yea
Johnson (R-WI), Nay
Kaine (D-VA), Yea
King (I-ME), Yea
Kirk (R-IL), Yea
Klobuchar (D-MN), Yea
Landrieu (D-LA), Yea
Leahy (D-VT), Yea
Lee (R-UT), Nay
Levin (D-MI), Yea
Manchin (D-WV), Yea
Markey (D-MA), Yea
McCain (R-AZ), Nay
McCaskill (D-MO), Yea
McConnell (R-KY), Nay
Menendez (D-NJ), Yea
Merkley (D-OR), Yea
Mikulski (D-MD), Yea
Moran (R-KS), Nay
Murkowski (R-AK), Yea
Murphy (D-CT), Yea
Murray (D-WA), Yea
Nelson (D-FL), Yea
Paul (R-KY), Nay
Portman (R-OH), Nay
Pryor (D-AR), Yea
Reed (D-RI), Yea
Reid (D-NV), Nay
Risch (R-ID), Nay
Roberts (R-KS), Nay
Rockefeller (D-WV), Yea
Rubio (R-FL), Nay
Sanders (I-VT), Yea
Schatz (D-HI), Not Voting
Schumer (D-NY), Yea
Scott (R-SC), Nay
Sessions (R-AL), Nay
Shaheen (D-NH), Yea
Shelby (R-AL), Nay
Stabenow (D-MI), Yea
Tester (D-MT), Yea
Thune (R-SD), Nay
Toomey (R-PA), Nay
Udall (D-CO), Yea
Udall (D-NM), Yea
Vitter (R-LA), Nay
Walsh (D-MT), Yea
Warner (D-VA), Yea
Warren (D-MA), Yea
Whitehouse (D-RI), Yea
Wicker (R-MS), Nay
Wyden (D-OR), Yea

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