“Specifically, while expanded access to early child care and pre-k would be beneficial for many working families, we are concerned that the current provisions to do so — in a departure from the approach in existing federal programs — explicitly make providers recipients of federal financial assistance and attach new and troubling compliance obligations,” the letter said.
“This will effectively exclude many faith-based providers from participation (or in some already existing state-based programs, continued participation), thereby severely limiting options for families, and suppressing a mixed delivery system," the letter stated.
The letter also called the provisions for direct government funding of abortion in the bill “completely unacceptable,” and urged Congress to restore those long standing restrictions.
“We have been consistent in our position and reiterate that it would be a calamity if the important and life-affirming provisions in this bill were accompanied by provisions facilitating and funding the destruction of unborn human life,” the bishops’ letter stated.
“No proposal to support individuals needing affordable health care coverage should compel Americans to pay for the destruction of human life through their tax dollars.”
In an interview with EWTN's Raymond Arroyo Thursday, pro-life leader U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), who voted against the bill, called it "the most pro-abortion piece of legislation that I've seen in years."
"It is overwhelmingly filled with money for abortion," Smith said. "There is spigot after spigot after spigot that will fund abortion on demand."
Smith drew fire from his party and former president Donald Trump for being one of 13 House Republicans to vote for the infrastructure bill on Nov. 6. You can watch his full interview in the video below.
In a statement Louis Brown, executive director of the Christ Medicus Foundation, a Catholic health care and religious freedom advocacy organization, echoed the bishops' objections to the restrictions on religious child care providers, and said the bill’s failure to include the Hyde Amendment “gravely harms babies in the womb.”
“Congress should seek changes in the social safety net without harming life and without undermining the ability of religious institutions to participate in the human service needs of our nation,” Brown said.
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The bill now goes to the Senate, which is evenly split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans. In a late September interview with National Review, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), a moderate Democrat, predicted the bill would be “dead on arrival” if the Hyde Amendment was not included.