VP: We ‘screwed up’ contraception rule

Vice President Biden acknowledged the administration “screwed up” the first iteration of the contraception mandate, which eventually was changed in an atempt to please angry Catholic leaders.

Speaking at Iowa State University on Thursday, Biden, who is Catholic, said the second version of the rule is “where it should have been in the first place.”

{mosads}”The conscience clause is being honored in its literal sense,” Biden said. “What is happening now is that we have been able to provide what was hard to set up — it got screwed up in the first iteration — in that any hospital, no matter where it is, no matter who runs it, profit or non-profit, religious-based or otherwise, has to provide insurance to their employees like everybody else does,” Biden said. 

His comments come the same day the Senate voted 51-48 Thursday to kill a controversial amendment that would weaken the administration’s mandate.

Sen. Roy Blunt’s (R-Mo.) amendment was introduced after the White House’s shift and would have let any employers opt out of healthcare coverage mandates that violate their religious or moral beliefs.

At the time of the controversy, news outlets reported that Biden, along with former White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley, warned Obama about the contraception backlash.

“The fact of the matter is, the ultimate resolution to this problem is where it should have been in the first place,” the vice president said. “I was the one that was tasked to meet with the National Conference of Bishops, and others and Cardinal [Tim] Dolan, to talk about this.”

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishop was furious with the administration’s original mandate, which required religious-affiliated organizations to provide birth control coverage to employees.

After the furor, the administration changed its rule, allowing employees who work for religious organizations that object to the use of birth control, to obtain contraception from the employer’s insurer.

The White House’s change did not appease the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

“While there may be an openness to respond to some of our concerns, we reserve judgment on the details until we have them,” said Dolan, the president of the group.

This story was updated at 7:10 p.m.

Tags Roy Blunt

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