Senate Will Vote on Conscience Clause on Thursday
The Senate will vote Thursday on a conscience clause amendment to release religious organizations from government mandates in health care, Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) said today.
The amendment, proposed by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) in response to an Obama administration policy that helps provide contraception coverage for women, is supported by a wide range of Republicans and has become a popular target for Democrats. It also has put more moderate New England Republicans facing re-election, such as Sens. Scott Brown (Mass.) and Olympia Snowe (Maine), in a tough spot.
Reid declined to comment on most other specific amendments to the pending highway infrastructure bill, though he noted that an amendment from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) to stop aid to Egypt likely will get a vote and that Paul has agreed to a 60-vote threshold.
Specifically, Reid would not say whether an amendment from Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) to strip a Nevada-based earmark from the underlying bill would get a vote.
“There are about 100 amendments that they have filed,” Reid said. “ We are not going to be able to deal with every one of them.”
The Senate is moving forward with its surface transportation bill as the House has struggled to push through its own version of the legislation. Senate aides expect that the chamber will finish its work first and then the House will act on the already-approved legislation if the Senate passes the bill.
On Tuesday, Reid called the House transportation bill an “unreasonable, nonproductive piece of legislation.”
The Blunt amendment vote is likely to be the lone transportation bill vote this week, barring an unlikely larger agreement between the leaders to move forward with a series of amendment votes.