Tuesday, December 14, 2010

JuridicsUSA: Faith-based hiring: Dr Stanley Carson-Thies keeps lame duck watch on 5-more-days Congress

Watchman for institutional religious freedom alliance [irfa], Stanley Carlson-Thies, keeps a focus day by day on the shenanigans in the usa Congress where some lame-ducks seek to deprive faithful citizens of the right to hire faith-morals compatible-employees to serve the clientele of all faiths who use a communal organization's services.  irfa email newsletter [Dec14,2k10] -- 

So far, so good.  Opponents of religious hiring have been trying to get the Democratic-majority Congress to ban the hiring freedom when faith-based groups get federal funds, and to eliminate their right to appeal to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) for relief from such a ban.  But the Continuing Resolution (CR) the House passed last week did not include the bad language.  And, so far, there's been no hint that a Senator is trying to sneak the language into whatever budget bill the Senate passes. 

The House and Senate have to pass some kind of budget measure by Dec. 18th or else the federal government will grind to a halt.  Congress is in this fix because it failed to adopt budget bills for federal operations before the current fiscal year began last October 1.  Short-term CRs have been adopted as stop-gap measures.  Continuing Resolutions basically maintain the status quo without making major changes in spending priorities or amounts. 

The question now is whether the House and Senate will pass another short-term CR, or a long-term CR, or even an "omnibus" budget bill that mashes all twelve of the languishing budget bills into one monster bill.  And also:  whether the bill that finally is adopted includes the attack on religious hiring and RFRA.

Of course, given the press of time, the predilection of this Congress to pass huge bills without time for anyone to master the contents, and the willingness of members to conceal explosive provisions if they can, vigilance must not be relaxed.

Go here for the story on the bad language as it first appeared in Rep. Patrick Kennedy's SAMHSA modernization bill.  Go here for a story on the opponents' plan to put the language into a Continuing Resolution.  Go here for a story on the letter from faith-based organizations asking Congress not to undermine the religious hiring freedom.
Thank you, Stan, for keeping us alert during these fateful 4 days before Congress closes down its last-gasp session, in all the ignominy it so richly deserves.  pelosi and rangel in the house.  reid in the Senate.

-- lawt

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