Congressional Democrats put their slim majority in the House of Representatives to use this week.
According to The Hill, lawmakers forced through a pair of controversial bills despite a Republican minority largely united in opposition.
“A simple one”
The first piece of legislation aims to provide contraception to veterans without a copayment, which its supporters say is a necessary provision. U.S. Rep. Julia Brownley (D-CA), who authored the proposed law, described the Equal Access to Contraception for Veterans Act as “a simple one.”
As for why she believes the legislation is necessary, the lawmaker said it corrects “the disparity between veterans who must pay for contraception and civilians and women currently serving in uniform who do not have to pay for contraception.”
She and other Democratic proponents faced pushback from Republican counterparts, however, including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green (R-GA), who expressed fears that it would pave the way for taxpayer-funded abortions.
Greene took issue with the bill’s coverage for emergency contraceptives, such as the so-called morning-after pill, saying: “Contraception stops a woman from becoming pregnant. The Plan B pill kills a baby in the womb once a woman is already pregnant.”
As for Brownley’s proposal, the Georgia Republican said that it “is not contraception, it’s providing with taxpayer dollars the ability for women to have an abortion.”
“Data is a good thing”
Of course, not every Republican agreed with Greene’s assessment. For his part, House Veterans Affairs Committee ranking GOP member Mike Bost (R-IL), said that the coverage stipulated in the bill “is not abortion.”
The American Family Physician Foundation described emergency contraception as a method of suppression ovulation, though it noted that some studies suggest it can interfere with the implantation of a fertilized egg.
Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY) introduced the other bill that advanced through the House this week. If it ultimately becomes law, it would require financial institutions to record the sexual orientation and gender identity of small business owners who apply for loans in an ostensible bid to prevent discrimination.
Among that bill’s vocal supporters is Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), who insisted that it “takes necessary action to help ensure that LGBTQ-owned businesses are treated fairly by financial institutions and protected against lending discrimination.”
Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) was one of 33 Republicans who supported the measure, stating: “Data is a good thing, especially if it’s provided voluntarily.”