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Breaking: House Passes Vital Spending Bill Gutting Obama’s LGBT Nondiscrimination Executive Orders

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Will Allow All Federal Contractors to Discriminate Against LGBT People for Religious Reasons

The U.S. House of Representatives just after 10:00 PM EDT Wednesday night passed the annual National Defense Authorization Act, a sweeping 1299 page appropriations bill that funds the U.S. military. Included in the bill is the Russell Amendment, which guts and nullifies all of President Barack Obama’s 2014 executive orders prohibiting federal contractors and their employees from discriminating against LGBT people. The bill passed 277-147. Opposing the NDAA were 142 Democrats and five Republicans.

The amendment passed the House Armed Services Committee April 28 over the objections of Democrats who rightly saw through GOP Oklahoma Rep. Steve Russell‘s claim that he merely wanted to decrease federal regulations, and claimed Obama’s protection order “unduly burdens the practice of religion.”

Like many bills in state legislatures, Russell’s amendment, now officially part of the House version of the vital military funding legislation, would allow contractors to discriminate against LGBT people by merely citing their sincerely held religious beliefs. Protections President Obama extended to LGBT people would disappear if the House version of the NDAA becomes law.

“Obama has already threatened to veto the House bill and gave a long list of reasons why, including problems ranging from misuse of funds and operating the prison at Guantanamo Bay, to military pay raises and base closures,” The Huffington Post’s White House and Congressional Reporter Jennifer Bendery reports. “White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Tuesday that he couldn’t single out any one item, such as the anti-LGBT provision, as grounds for a veto.”

“There are a whole lot of reasons why the bill is bad,” Earnest said in his daily briefing. “It’s unfortunate that it is being larded up with a bunch of proposals … that aren’t related to our national security but are intended to be divisive.”

The Human Rights Campaign had said the Russell Amendment “would dismantle President Obama’s executive order prohibiting discrimination in federal contracting based on sexual orientation or gender identity, under the guise of religious liberty.”

HRC also says that the amendment “would allow sweeping, taxpayer-funded discrimination in an attempt to promote anti-LGBT religious-based discrimination in the Department of Defense and other federal agencies. With far-reaching intended and unintended consequences, the vague amendment could even undermine existing nondiscrimination provisions that protect workers, and perhaps even beneficiaries, against discrimination on the basis of race, religion, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, and more.”

Democratic Rep. Mark Takano went on a Twitter rant:

As did Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney:

The NDAA now heads to the Senate. 

UPDATE: House Republicans Conspire to Defeat LGBT Protections Bill That Had Already Passed (Video)

 

This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. This story will be updated, and NCRM will likely publish follow-up stories on this news. Stay tuned and refresh for updates.

 

Image by Stephen Melkisethian via Flickr and a CC license

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HISTORY IN THE MAKING

‘We Do Think It’s Going to Be Today’: Joe Biden Announcing His VP Running Mate Expected Momentarily

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Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has made his decision and is expected to announce his vice presidential running mate any moment. MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell just reported, “we do think it’s going to be today.”

She and NBC News’ Kristen Welker also shared several anecdotes that make it seem today is the day, and the person the former Vice President has chosen is a Black woman.

This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. This story will be updated, and NCRM will likely publish follow-up stories on this news. Stay tuned and refresh for updates.

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NOT HOW THIS WORKS

Where Is Betsy DeVos? Education Secretary Hiding in ‘Sprawling’ Michigan Mansion While Demanding Schools Reopen: Report

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Where is Betsy DeVos? The Education Secretary is under fire for demanding schools reopen while not giving them the assistance they need to protect students, teachers, administrators, and staff, yet she is working remotely from her “sprawling” 22,000 square foot “waterfront estate with a round-the-clock security detail paid for by taxpayers,” NBC News reports. That security cost taxpayers $25 million over the past year.

DeVos “insists that it isn’t her job to help localities determine how to [re-open] safely.”

The Education Secretary’s’ public schedule “has been mostly empty for the past several weeks, including no events on her public schedule for this week,” NBC’s Heidi Przybyla reveals.

Yet DeVos “has been holding events not listed on her public calendar, including several sponsored by the conservative Federalist Society, according to Federalist Society postings. She has also participated in a few events related to private schools and advocacy for vouchers, including a roundtable July 23 at a private Christian school in Ohio and two events in the Carolinas with Vice President Mike Pence.”

Przybyla says DeVos is “not touring those public schools that she’s demanding reopen.”

The Education Secretary also “declined to appear at a House coronavirus subcommittee hearing on safely reopening K-12 schools ‘so she could explain why she is pressuring schools to fully reopen, despite the risks,’ James Clyburn of South Carolina, the No. 3 House Democrat, said Thursday.”

Here’s what some are saying:

 

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News

‘Was I Unmasked?’: Trump Appears to Admit Talking to Foreign Individuals Being Monitored When He Was a Candidate

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President Donald Trump wants to know how many times he was “unmasked” while he was a candidate for the Oval Office. That would mean he appears to know now he was talking to foreign individuals who were being monitored – and some would likely want to know who and why.

Unmasking is the lawful process of identifying a U.S. citizen or legal resident who was speaking to a foreign person or government that U.S. intelligence agents are monitoring. It can be used to determine if they were caught in any illicit activity, or might be a target of illegal activity.

Speaking about his disgraced former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn, Trump told right wing radio host Hugh Hewitt on Tuesday, “we’re talking about unmasking, yes. That was a big deal. Horrible deal where they unmasked {Flynn] so many times.”

“I think he’s got to have the record for unmasking,” Trump said, which suggests he knows Flynn was talking to foreign individuals, apparently frequently.

“Maybe I do, you know, because we’re still looking how many times did they unmask me. Let’s find that out, too, because look, they were spying on our campaign. They were using him and others, and they were spying on my campaign. So was I unmasked?”

Trump’s claims of his campaign being “spied on” have been thoroughly debunked, time and time again.

“So far, they haven’t said, but let’s see what happens. I think you’re going to have a very interesting report coming out with Durham. Not report, I hope it’s not going to be a report. The last thing I want is another report. We’ve had enough reports.”

 

 

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