Trump admin not posting comments opposing deregulations for religious groups

Trump admin not posting comments opposing deregulations for religious groups
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The Trump administration is not posting public comments opposing a proposal to reduce regulations for faith-based groups, Politico reported Monday.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has only posted 80 of the more than 10,000 comments it has received on the proposal since it was posted on Oct. 25. The department stopped taking the comments on Nov. 24.

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The proposal in question would remove regulations for religious groups “in order for these institutions to participate in HHS-funded or regulated programs.”

Under the Administrative Procedures Act, federal agencies are required to solicit public comments on proposed rules. All of the comments are typically posted on regulations.gov.

HHS officials said in a statement to The Hill that the proposal was a way to solicit information about potential proposals, adding that the proposal wasn't a proposed rule, meaning there was "no legal requirement that comments must be posted."

Shannon Royce, the director for the Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, said in a statement provided to The Hill that there was a "voluminous response" to the post and that "the Center’s team is working through a review of the submissions.”

Out of the comments that are posted, a majority are in support of the proposal. Many of the comments cite ObamaCare's protections for transgender patients as reasons why they would back the rule.

“I cannot comply with the Obama-era transgender mandate that requires me to put aside conscience convictions and medical judgment,” one comment reads.

“As a family physician with a worldview that acknowledges a loving God who has authority that supersedes any person or government, I cannot comply with recent federal legislation including the HHS Transgender Mandate, which would require me to prescribe hormonal therapy for gender transition,” another states.

The Trump administration has moved to remove regulations on religious groups. Trump officials rolled back the ObamaCare contraception mandate earlier this year, but a federal judge blocked the repeal last week.

—Updated at 8:45 p.m.