Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and James Lankford (R-OK) introduced a resolution of disapproval on Wednesday to try to block two of Washington, D.C.’s new progressive laws on reproductive health and gay rights.
The D.C. Council in January approved the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act and the Human Rights Amendment Act. The former would prohibit discrimination against employees based on their reproductive health choices, and the latter would overturn a 1989 congressional amendment that allows religiously affiliated universities in D.C. to discriminate against gay student groups.
Conservative and Catholic groups, including Heritage Action for America, the Family Research Council, and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, have been calling on Congress to block the bills because they say the bills violate religious freedom.
Georgetown University did not sign the letter those groups sent to Congress, even though a lawsuit trying to force Georgetown to recognize a gay rights group is what led to the passage of the 1989 amendment that D.C.’s new law overturns.
The measures are subject to a mandatory 30-day congressional review, and they would have to pass both houses of Congress and be signed by the president in order to pass, which is not likely to happen. The resolution is likely nothing more than a political move for Cruz and Lankford to curry favor with conservative constituents who disapprove of D.C.’s liberal policies.
Regardless, advocates for D.C. autonomy found the move offensive.
“It is largely symbolic but, listen, it’s incredibly hypocritical,” Kim Perry, executive director of D.C. Vote, told Roll Call. “It’s got to be one more example of members who run campaigns on the rhetoric of limited federal government … and again are exerting their federal overreach.”
Cruz calls himself a “passionate fighter for limited government.”