For the first time in 25 years, the House is set to vote Friday to strike down a District of Columbia law.
A member of Congress and a GOP leadership aide confirmed Wednesday the House will debate the resolution aimed at the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act Thursday and will vote on the measure Friday. The bill aims to combat employer discrimination based on decisions people make on their reproductive health, but conservatives argue it could violate religious freedom. Though the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee approved the resolution , sponsored by Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., on April 21, it had yet to be technically reported out of committee early this week. When asked about the holdup Monday, Oversight spokesperson Melissa Subbotin wrote in an email, "We are waiting on guidance from leadership."
It is not clear why or if House GOP leadership was hesitant about bringing the resolution to a vote. But leaders apparently heard from House conservatives, who pushed for the resolution to come to a vote on the House floor, which has not happened since 1991.
"We got a variety of members to push really hard, leadership to do the right thing," Republican Study Committee Chairman Bill Flores, R-Texas, said outside the House floor Wednesday. "So I'm not going to go into all the tactics, but we pushed really hard. We tried to do it in a positive, constructive way and they decided to do the right thing and call it up for a vote."
Asked if leadership opposed the resolution and did not want it to come to a vote, Flores said, "I don't want to get in the weeds on this. Let's just say that leadership's doing the right thing by bringing this to the floor."
With a Friday vote, House lawmakers will vote whether to strike down the act before the congressional review period ends on May 2. As with any D.C. law, the act must be transmitted to Congress before taking effect, during which time Congress can move to formally strike down the law by passing a joint resolution of disapproval, which must be signed by the president.
"The House will make the deadline," Flores said. "Of course, the Senate probably won't and the president wouldn't sign it, but at least the American people know where the House of Representatives stands on pushing back on the attempts of the D.C. City Council to inhibit religious liberty."
Correction April 30, 2:21 p.m. A previous version of this story misstated the date on which the period of congressional review ends. It ends May 2.
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