02.21.20

Chairman Scott Calls on Trump Administration to Withdraw Proposals Supporting Taxpayer-Funded Religious Discrimination

Scott: Proposed rules “further a political and religious agenda requiring taxpayers to fund discriminatory practices…”

WASHINGTON – Committee on Education and Labor Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) sent four letters to the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Education (ED), Labor (DOL), and Justice (DOJ) expressing strong opposition to the administration’s sweeping set of proposed rules that would allow religious discrimination against employees and students in federally funded programs and violate the religious liberty rights of individuals accessing federally sponsored social service programs.

The proposed rules released last month would make harmful changes that undermine the religious liberty rights of employees and individuals accessing services in federally sponsored social service programs, while also increasing students’ exposure to discrimination at publicly funded colleges and universities.

In his comments submitted to the four agencies, Chairman Scott argued that the proposed rules damage the nation’s founding principle of religious freedom.

The proposed rules “further a political and religious agenda requiring taxpayers to fund discriminatory practices,” Chairman Scott wrote. “The release of eight department proposed rules to undermine the rights of beneficiaries, employees and students in federally funded programs on National Religious Freedom Day underscores this administration’s fundamental misunderstanding of religious liberty as envisioned by our founders.”

Under the proposed rules, private organizations administering federal grants to provide services under federal programs would be able to discriminate against current and potential employees based on the organization’s religious beliefs. The administration’s proposals would also eliminate key anti-discrimination protections for beneficiaries, including the requirement that beneficiaries are informed of their right to an alternative provider when accessing taxpayer-funded services through faith-based organizations. The rule also expands the number of schools that would qualify for a religious exemption under Title IX and be able to discriminate against students. 

The administration’s proposal would affect programs that support a wide range of underserved Americans that rely on federally funded programs, such as seniors, victims of human trafficking, displaced workers, and individuals impacted by the criminal justice system who are returning to the workforce.

To read the letter to HHS, click here.

To read the letter to ED, click here.

To read the letter to DOJ, click here.

To read the letter to DOL, click here.

 

###

Press Contact

Contact:

Democratic Press Office, 202-226-0853