House to move bill to erode mandate?

The Republican author of a bill to dramatically weaken ObamaCare's birth-control mandate hinted Tuesday that the legislation could see a floor vote in the coming months.

Rep. Diane BlackDiane Lynn BlackBottom line Overnight Health Care: Anti-abortion Democrats take heat from party | More states sue Purdue over opioid epidemic | 1 in 4 in poll say high costs led them to skip medical care Lamar Alexander's exit marks end of an era in evolving Tennessee MORE (R-Tenn.), who has positive ties to leadership, said she has personal assurances from party chiefs that they are "committed" to her bill.


While this does not guarantee a floor vote, Black suggested that the measure has a good chance to move out of committee soon, now that it has nearly 200 cosponsors.

"We are hopeful it will move in the committee now that we have that many supporters of the bill," Black told reporters. "I have that personally from our leadership that they are committed to this bill."

The legislation (H.R. 940) would carve out broad moral and religious exemptions to the birth-control mandate for employers, insurers and individuals. Critics say it would render lifeless the administration's policy, which aims to extend free birth control to female workers through their health plans.

Whether Republican leadership will actually move the bill remains to be seen. Party leaders have been criticized for holding dozens of votes to undermine ObamaCare, and they are hesitant to thwart the GOP's momentum headed into the midterm elections.

A spokeswoman for House Majority Leader Eric CantorEric Ivan CantorSpanberger's GOP challenger raises over .8 million in third quarter The Hill's Campaign Report: Florida hangs in the balance Eric Cantor teams up with former rival Dave Brat in supporting GOP candidate in former district MORE (R-Va.) declined to comment on the bill's status but pointed to a statement in which Cantor called religious freedom a "sacred right."

Black's statements came at a press conference following Supreme Court arguments over the birth-control mandate and how it applies to for-profit companies.

Republicans blasted the mandate as an attack on religious liberty. Supporters say the policy is vital for women's health and that religious business owners should not be permitted to interfere.