Democrats are plotting a direct challenge to the Supreme Court’s Affordable Care Act-related decision last week, planning to introduce legislation Wednesday that would usurp the ruling.
Led by the conservative justices, the high court ruled last week that closely held for-profit corporations like Hobby Lobby, could be exempt from covering emergency contraceptives under the Affordable Care Act based on religious exemptions. In the wake of the decision, a furious Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid vowed Democrats would act soon.
On Wednesday, Sens. Patty Murray (D-Washington) and Mark Udall (D-Colorado) will introduce the bill, which would bar for-profit companies from declining coverage on any federally guaranteed health services for religious reasons. That includes the 20 forms of contraception detailed in the Affordable Care Act, according to a summary of the bill provided to Business Insider.
The bill would also specify that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which served as the basis for the Supreme Court’s decision against Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate, and all other federal laws do not permit businesses from refusing to comply with the law’s requirements.
“The U.S. Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision opened the door to unprecedented corporate intrusion into our private lives,” Udall said in a statement. “My common-sense proposal will keep women’s private health decisions out of corporate board rooms, because your boss shouldn’t be able to dictate what is best for you and your family.”
A Senate Democratic aide told Business Insider the legislation could be voted on as soon as next week.
Murray and Udall, along with Democratic Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-California) and Mark Begich (D-Alaska) will introduce the bill at a press conference Wednesday morning. Both Udall and Begich are facing tough re-election battles this fall.
Reps. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), Diana Degette (D-Colorado), and Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) will also appear at the press conference and plan to introduce the companion to the Senate’s bill in the House.
The bill faces tough odds even in the Democratic-controlled Senate, and it’s unlikely the Republican-controlled House will bring it to a vote. But a recorded vote in the Senate would give Democrats a talking point ahead of the midterm elections.
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