Barack Obama was honored by Catholic University Notre Dame in 2009.
The Obama Administration discriminated against the Catholic Church and refused to refund a program helping sex trafficking victims because of the Church’s stand on abortion.
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The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held a hearing today on the administration’s decision not to fund the Catholic program to assist sex trafficking victims even though the Catholic program was the most experienced and top rated national applicant. The actions by the administration appear to constitute an abuse of discretion and undermine the integrity of the process, while potentially violating the spirit, if not the letter, of federal laws and regulations that prohibit discrimination based on religious beliefs.
A House committee held a hearing today on the decision by the Obama administration to deny to the nation’s Catholic bishops a grant for a program helping sex trafficking victims because it would not refer for abortions.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held the hearing on the administration’s decision not to renew funding for United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) program to assist human trafficking victims.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops had previously received a five-year $19 million grant to help victims of sex trafficking during the administration of pro-life President George W. Bush. Sensitive to how women are exploited in the sex industry, the Catholic bishops prohibit any subcontractors from using the funds to pay for or promote abortions. Instead, the Catholic bishops provide comprehensive case management services to survivors including medical and mental health services.
While the Obama administration extended the contract briefly in March, the bishops were recently notified that it would not be renewed. Instead, Obama officials awarded the grant to three other groups (Tapestri of Atlanta, Heartland Human Care Services of Chicago and the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants of Washington) — even though the bishops have helped more than 2,700 victims with the funding.
During the hearing, committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, a California Republican, said the decision violated the Obama administration’s “pledge to be the most transparent in history.”
“Unfortunately, today, we are presented with an example of how that goal is not being met and an opportunity to understand how the federal grant-making process has been politicized,” he said.
“The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has begun an investigation into the process used by the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement to award grants that fund many types of care and services,” he told the hearing. “That investigation has uncovered many disturbing facts about the grant awards process, including: the most experienced and top rated national applicant was not selected, and lower-ranked organizations were somehow funded. The process was delayed for months while the agency struggled to find ways to inject new criteria into the process, and—of great concern—the judgment of experienced, career-level professionals was discarded when political appointees chose to overrule transparent decision-making.”
“These actions appear to constitute an abuse of discretion and undermine the integrity of the process, while potentially violating the spirit, if not the letter, of federal laws and regulations that prohibit discrimination based on religious beliefs,” Issa said.
The nation’s Catholic bishops are considering a lawsuit against the Obama administration for denying the grant for helping victims of sex trafficking.