Washington, D.C.– Rep. Raúl M. Grijalvatoday proposed an amendment to H.R. 3, a bill offered by Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) to take away women’s right to reproductive insurance coverage. The amendment would prevent the billfrom being implemented if tax penalties imposed by the bill are found to have disproportionate impacts based on race, gender, income or other factors.
Despite the House Republican majority’s “pledge” to allow more open amendments and debate in the 112th Congress, the House Rules Committee did not to allow the Grijalva amendment or most others for consideration.
H.R. 3 raises taxes on anyone whose health insurance provides reproductive choice coverage, denies tax credits to individuals or entities that pay for reproductive care, and permanently bans military women from receiving reproductive care in military hospitals overseas even if they use their own money, among other similar provisions. Grijalva’s amendment would void the law if the Secretary of the Treasury finds it has a “disparate impact on individuals based on race, gender, national origin, religion, ability or age and will not curtail economic growth of small businesses owned or operated by minorities at a disparate rate when determined by race, gender, national origin, religion, ability or age.”
“There’s no reason to sign any law that wouldn’t pass that test, and there’s no reason my amendment should have been dismissed without discussion or consultation,” Grijalva said. “Republicans are using the tax code to implement unpopular anddiscriminatory social policies. The fact that the Rules Committee ignored its transparency pledge to protect a radical bill is disappointing.”
Grijalva said the level of government interference the bill involves “is unnecessary, burdensome and wrong. These choices should be left to women and their families. Politicians have no place dictating private behavior, whether they disguise it as a tax bill or anything else.”
The committee decision comes after Republicans have faced a series of questions about their commitment to the transparency promises they made when they took control of the House. As Politico reported earlier this year in a story headlined “GOP Bends Its Own New House Rules”:
After calling for bills to go through a regular committee process, the bill that would repeal the health care law will not go through a single committee. Despite promising a more open amendment process for bills, amendments for the health care repeal will be all but shut down. After calling for a strict committee attendance list to be posted online, Republicans backpedaled and ditched that from the rules. They promised constitutional citations for every bill but have yet to add that language to early bills.
“Lack of transparency is bad enough, but to ignore your own promises adds an extra dimension that the American people won’t forget,” Grijalva said. “Blocking my amendment is part of a pattern of saying one thing and doing another. Today it’s reproductive health – tomorrow it could be education, Medicare or Social Security that’s being quietly dismantled.”