The House Appropriations Committee voted Wednesday to block any funding for the implementation of a D.C. law that is meant to combat discrimination in the workplace.
The D.C. city council passed the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act in April, which they say will stop employers from terminating based on reproductive health decisions, but GOP House members think the law could force religiously focused businesses to hire abortion advocates.
Rep. Steve Palazzo introduced the amendment to the appropriations bill that would prevent any regulations regarding the D.C. law from being enacted.
“Under this misguided law’s extremely broad language, any employer or employment agency is prohibited from making a decision to employ an individual based on their personal feelings about birth control or abortion,” Palazzo said when introducing the amendment. “For example, a Catholic school could be required to hire a teacher that advocates for the use of abortion as a birth control option.”
House Republicans have tried previously to block the legislation through disapproval resolutions, though those efforts ultimately failed.
According to federal law, any law passed by the city council in D.C. has to go before Congress for a 30-day review period, during which time Congress can block the legislation with a joint-resolution. The resolution would need to pass both houses and be signed by the president before the review period expires.
A disapproval resolution passed the House in April, but the Senate didn’t take up the bill in time to meet the requirements of the review period, and the ‘non-discrimination’ bill became law on May 2.
At that point, Republicans vowed to fight the law through the appropriations process, a tactic they’ve used previously to block the district from implementing its effort to legalize marijuana.
D.C.’s non-voting delegate in Congress, Eleanor Holmes Norton, said earlier this month that she will force a roll call vote on every rider bill that targets D.C. laws in an effort to call attention to what she said is Republican meddling in local issues.