Wednesday, December 11, 2013
(Updated at 12:15 p.m.) Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, voted for the Blunt amendment. Sen. Olympia Snowe was the only Republican to vote in favor of killing it. In the end, the amendment received only 48 votes in favor of it — including three Democrats who crossed party lines — and was killed.
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, is voting for an amendment that gives all employers the option of denying contraception coverage or any other health benefit based on their moral or religious beliefs.
Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, voted against the amendment, which was being voted on this morning as part of a transportation bill.
The amendment by Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., was meant to limit President Obama’s requirement that birth control coverage be offered as an employee health insurance benefit.
The White House wanted religious-affiliated employers such as Catholic hospitals and universities to offer birth control coverage to employees, but revised the rule to say that the contraception coverage could be provided instead by insurance companies. Both Collins and Snowe initially called the revised rule a step in the right direction, but both since backed away, saying they needed more details.
Collins said she thinks the Blunt amendment is flawed and needs to be “refined,” but said she has failed to receive a guarantee from the Obama administration that self-funded Catholic hospitals and other self-funded religious institutions would be exempt from the revised rule, too.
Snowe has called the Blunt amendment “too broad.”
Both Collins and Snowe are sponsors of a bill introduced by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., giving any employer the ability cite religious objections as a basis for not providing contraception coverage.
Kevin Miller is Washington bureau chief for the Portland Press Herald and MaineToday Media. He has worked as a journalist in Maine for 6 ½ years, covering the environment, politics and the State House. Before arriving in Maine, he wrote about politics, government and education for newspapers in Virginia and Maryland.
Kevin can be reached at 317-6256 or email@example.com
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