The Republican-led measure to negate Obama's contraceptive mandate met its end, as the Senate voted 51-48 to table the amendment. "The 51-48 vote to table the Republican measure showed dissent among the GOP, as several Republican senators said the legislation was too broad for their support," reports the Los Angeles Times' Lisa Mascaro. USA Today has the breakdown of the vote, which mostly fell along party lines. Retiring Senator Olympia Snowe was the only Republican to vote with Democrats. Three Democrats, Sens. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Ben Nelson of Nebraska voted with Republicans.
The Blunt amendment proposed that not only would church-affiliated organizations be able to deny coverage, any non-religious employer with a moral objection would have qualified, according to The Washington Post. The amendment's defeat was widely expected, but this piece of legislature did present politicians, both Democrats and Republicans, with an opportunity to solidify their positions on the topic of contraceptives in anticipation of November's election. MSNBC put it (no pun) bluntly: "This is one of those rare situations where BOTH parties are licking their political chops and are excited about creating a wedge issue." What they're referring to is that Democrats saw this opportunity to appeal to women voters and paint Republicans as insensitive to women's rights, and conversely, Republicans took the angle of "religious liberty" and accused Democrats of infringing on the First Amendment.
Not skipping a beat, Senator Roy Blunt, who proposed the amendment, said: "I am truly disappointed by the partisanship that has been injected into this debate on religious freedoms." Senator Chuck Schumer, who opposed the amendment, countered: "The closeness of this vote shows how high the stakes are for women this year."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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