I’ve been trying to watch the live-feed of the public sessions and press conferences of the U.S. Bishops meeting in Baltimore today, where religious liberty issues have frequently come up.
Today witnessed another important development in Washington, DC:
Twenty-seven U.S. senators requested information on how the Department of Health and Human Services graded applicants for anti-trafficking grants and asked why the U.S. bishops’ Migration and Refugee Services was denied one.
EWTN News obtained a copy of a Nov. 9 letter—signed by legislators including Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)—which gives department secretary Kathleen Sebelius until Nov. 18 to ensure that the department respected the bishops’ conscience rights “and did not violate current law in awarding this grant.”
The senators asked for “a full explanation of your department’s decision” and whether the bishops’ “position regarding abortion referrals was a factor in your department’s decision making.”
They also requested a list of grant applicants, their applications, scores and comments from an independent review, as well as all department documents and communications related to the funding decision. [EWTN News/CNA]
I explained the backstory in this Nov. 1st post: “Obama Appointees Denied USCCB Grant By Utilizing “Unfair, Politicized” Justifications”
The Health and Human Services department, under the leadership of (catholyc) Kathleen Sebelius, is amassing quite a track record of stonewalling Catholics, the US Bishops, and now, 27 Senators elected by the American people when they demand to know if the agency is making decisions based on political ideology. In other words, HHS seems intent on rewarding its pro-abortion friends, and harming pro-life organizations, even when (as in this case) the pro-life groups have an objectively better track record of assisting people who need help.
What happened to the “most transparent administration in history”, Mr. President?