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Rejection and Reprieve

April 3, 2009

The U.S. Senate “rejected” the Coburn Amendment #828 with a vote of Yea 41 to Nay 56 (at 10:38 pm last night).

You can find other details at

http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm
.cfm?congress=111&session=1&vote=00152

including the roll call vote results (i.e., how each Senator voted) that can be sorted by Senator name, vote position, and state name.

For your quick reference, here is  the official short description of the amendment and names of the Senators who proposed it:

“Statement of Purpose:
To protect the freedom of conscience for patients and the right of health care providers to serve patients without violating their moral and religious convictions.”

Sponsor: Sen Coburn, Tom [OK]

CoSponsors (5):
Sen Wicker, Roger F. [MS]
Sen Vitter, David [LA]
Sen Inhofe, James M. [OK]
Sen Thune, John [SD]
Sen DeMint, Jim [SC]

I don’t know if this is significant, but am just observing that that amendment was the next to the last one to be voted upon, before the budget resolution was “agreed to” at 11:29 pm.

Anyway, I do know that there is less than one week remaining for people to submit comments to the HHS regarding protection of conscience rights for medical personnel and institutions. Please see other places on this blog for details about doing that.

Also on the subject of HHS: the full Senate’s vote whether or not to confirm the nomination of Kathleen Sebelius for Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has been postponed! That reprieve gives more time for you to learn about her and the reasons why she is not a good choice. It also gives you more time to invite other people to contact their Senators and ask them to oppose the nomination. The vote is anticipated in about two weeks, following the Senate’s recess. (Thanks to the reader who forwarded the news about this!)

Here is an article that tells how the vote was postponed, as well  as another concern that we should be aware of regarding health care legislation attempts:

Second Kathleen Sebelius Hearing Ignores Abortion,
Senate Confirmation Delayed

by Steven Ertelt, LifeNews.com Editor
April 2, 2009

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The second hearing today on pro-abortion Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, appointed by President Barack Obama to become his Health Secretary, featured no questions on the topic of abortion. Though the hearing could have had fireworks over her extreme pro-abortion position, it was decidedly dispassionate.

The hearing concluded without any exchanges about her pro-abortion record or her close ties to late-term abortion practitioner George Tiller.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, a pro-abortion Montana Democrat, says he expects the Senate to okay her nomination, but explained that the vote will be delayed.

The vote probably won’t take place until after upcoming two-week recess because one senator is objecting to the nomination.

“I’m afraid there’s a senator who will not grant consent so that means it has to be delayed until after the recess,” Baucus said without naming the senator. He only confirmed the objecting lawmaker is a Republican.

The only issue touched on during the hearing of interest to pro-life advocates was health care and Sen. Charles E. Grassley, a pro-life Iowa Republican, told Sebelius and his colleagues that he is concerned about reconciliation.

That is a procedural maneuver concerning pro-life advocates that Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid has said could be employed to prohibit pro-life lawmakers from filibustering a health care package covering abortions.

Grassley and several other Republican members of the panel made clear their distaste for the idea, saying it would curtail their rights as the minority to stand up against legislation they strongly oppose.

Though Baucus says Sebelius can expect to be confirmed soon, some pro-life lawmakers will oppose her over her pro-abortion record.

Sen. John Cornyn, a Republican member of the committee which will vote on Sebelius, has already indicated he will oppose her nomination and that abortion is the reason why.

“For Sen. Cornyn, his reservations are specifically over the abortion issue,” an aide told The Hill.

Sebelius did answer a couple of questions on abortion during her first hearing on Tuesday.

Senator Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican, asked Sebelius about the dangerous abortion drug RU 486 that has resulted in the deaths of more than a dozen women worldwide and injured more than 1,400 in the United States alone.

He asked Sebelius if the Obama administration had any plans to classify the abortion drug as an “emergency contraceptive” — which would exempt it from the Hyde amendment that prohibits direct taxpayer funding of abortions.

“As far as I know, there are no plans, I certainly have had no discussions with anyone about changing that policy,” she said. Responding further, Sebelius added, “Again, I am not confirmed as secretary, I haven’t had those discussions.”

HELP [Health, Education, Labor and Pensions] Committee ranking member Mike Enzi also nominally addressed abortion during the first Sebelius hearing.

“We may not always agree on every issue. I am and will remain staunchly pro-life and will continue to advocate for legislation to protect the rights of the unborn,” he said.

Source: http://www.lifenews.com/nat4961.html. The article includes links to other articles about Kathleen Sebelius and about the separate concern over the “reconciliation” procedure that the Senate might use. You may want to read those articles. (If time permits, I’ll put related information in the sidebar, but maybe only a little bit today and more on other days.)

Just as one Senator had the courage to exercise his/her ability to put a hold on the vote, each of us has the ability to make a difference. Please do look into the record of Governor Sebelius and decide for yourself what level of involvement you want. In the end, her nomination is likely to be confirmed, but it would be good to exercise your right to voice your opinions and seek the cooperation of your Senators.

Added 090404: http://catholicexchange.com/2009/04/04/117331/ (re: conscience rights)

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