House Passes Bill To Allow Military Chaplains To Hold Services During Shutdown
The House has passed a number of bills to fund & reopen vital functions of government and they are now sitting on Harry Reid's desk.
Among them are bills providing continuing appropriations for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children for fiscal year 2014, providing for the compensation of furloughed Federal employees, making continuing appropriations for the Federal Emergency Management Agency for fiscal year 2014, and "expressing the sense of Congress regarding the need for the continued availability of religious services to members of the Armed Forces and their families during a lapse in appropriations."
The latter bill H CON RES 58 was passed on Saturday to allow military chaplains hold services during the shutdown, as Catholic priests under government contract are not allowed to offer communion and other religious services on military bases.
Priests were told that they could even get arrested for volunteering to serve.
The House voted 400-1 to reinstate furloughed chaplains on a volunteer basis on Saturday afternoon. The one House member who was against the resolution is Rep. William Enyart, a Democrat from Illinois, according to NPR.
The bill was sponsored by Rep. Doug Collins, a Republican from Georgia and a U.S. Air Force Reserve chaplain.
House Republicans were outraged by the fact that chaplains could be barred from offering services due to the shutdown. “Is it really the policy of this administration to make church services illegal? To threaten Catholic priests with jail?” asked Rep. Tim Huelskamp, a Republican from Kansas, during a debate on the measure.
The chief sponsor, Rep. Collins, said it “breaks my heart” that contract chaplains are being denied the ability to even voluntarily minister to military members. “If a contract chaplain wants to minister to a military member stationed abroad who has no access to a church, a mosque or a synagogue, he would be in violation of the law.”
He continued, “as a chaplain, I lived and worked alongside men and women in Iraq. Many were religious and many were not, but my purpose was to ensure that they were able to express their First Amendment rights however they wished.”
Collins also accused the Obama administration of employing “unnecessary theatrics” by telling federal civilian and contract chaplains they could not work during the government shutdown.
Via Jim Geraghty at NRO's Campaign Spot commenting on the "sadism of Harry Reid":
Not a single one of those resolutions says anything about Obamacare.
We know why Harry Reid isn’t bringing them to the floor. If he did, they would pass. Senate Democrats wouldn’t be able to vote “no” on any of those priorities without providing fodder for attack ads next fall (maybe the District of Columbia). And if they pass, the pain of the shutdown is mitigated in part.
Harry Reid doesn’t want to minimize the pain of the shutdown. He wants to maximize it.
Harry Reid and his spiteful Boss have become an enemies of the American people.