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Dem. Rep: Republicans Reach ‘New Low’ With Symbolic Vote

Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, blasted his Republican colleagues Thursday for calling a vote to overturn a D.C. anti-discrimination bill.

The proposed D.C. law could force employers in the city to hire individuals who advocate for abortion and could require those employers, even those who advocate pro-life causes, to cover elective abortions in their healthcare plans.

“Under this legislation, congressional Republicans would permit District employers to fire a woman because she had an abortion after being raped, demote a man because his wife chooses to use a birth control pill, pay an employee less because his or her teenage daughter became pregnant out of wedlock, and impose a host of other penalties based on ideologies that discriminate against certain reproductive health decisions,” Cummings said.

Cummings called it a “new low for the party that cruelly disparaged Sandra Fluke for wanting to testify about contraceptives—and suffered a massive backlash as a result.”

This could prove problematic for conservative organizations when they look to hire new employees, since Washington, D.C. is home to many pro-life advocacy groups and freedom loving companies.

Rep. Diane Black, who sponsored the disapproval resolution, called the D.C. Law unconstitutional and said it was fundamentally dishonest. Black claims the law’s only supporters are in the big-abortion lobby.

“The truth is this oppressive measure directly targets the First Amendment freedoms of pro-life and faith-based employers in our nation’s capital,” Black said.

She said it is the duty of Congress to make sure laws in the District of Columbia adhere with the constitution.

The oversight committee marked-up the bill last week and moved it out for a full House vote on Wednesday. Debate on the D.C. bill is set to begin Thursday night, and a vote will likely come Friday morning.

The vote, though, is purely symbolic, as the disapproval resolution would need to pass a vote in the Senate and then be signed by President Obama, and this would all need to happen within the next week. This is a highly unlikely scenario.

That is because all local D.C. laws must be transmitted to Congress for a 30-day legislative review period before they can take effect. The bill will become law at the end of that review period unless both houses of Congress pass disapproval resolutions and the president signs off on it.

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