In Positive Move, Senate Blocks Continuing Resolution

March 9, 2011 12:00 am

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Bill Passed By House Contains Troubling Anti-Civil Liberties Provisions

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WASHINGTON – The Senate today voted to block a continuing resolution containing several troubling anti-civil liberties provisions. The bill, H.R. 1, was passed by the House last month and is meant to fund the government through the current fiscal year, but became a vehicle for many problematic amendments during its debate.

The House’s continuing resolution contains provisions that would eliminate funds to the critical Title X National Family Planning Program, which provides much needed services nationwide and is the only way for many low-income families to access essential reproductive health care as well as a blanket ban on Guantánamo detainee transfers to the United States for any reason, including prosecution in federal courts. The transfer ban is significant because it would apply to all government funds, and not just to the Defense Department funds that already are restricted.
Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) added an amendment to the bill that would eliminate all federal funding to Planned Parenthood, penalizing the organization because its clinics perform abortions, though they do so without federal dollars. An amendment to bar funding for the Federal Communications Commission’s implementation of recently adopted net neutrality rules was also added during debate.
President Obama, citing several concerns, had indicated that he would have vetoed the bill if it had been passed by the Senate.
Congress has until March 18 to pass a bill to continue funding the government through the 2011 fiscal year.
The following can be attributed to Laura W. Murphy, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office:
“The Senate has done the right thing by blocking passage of this breathtaking assault on Americans’ civil liberties. Moving forward, as congressional leaders determine next steps on federal funding in the days ahead, it is crucial that they protect Americans’ rights and keep the House’s troubling provisions out of the final bill.”
The ACLU’s letter to the Senate on H.R. 1 can be found here:

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