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Public Statements

Support for the Sovereignty, Integrity, Democracy, and Economic Stability of Ukraine Act of 2014 - Motion to Proceed

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TEXT

I thank Senator Blunt. I did not get to hear all of Senator Inhofe's comments, but as an Oklahoman I think we couldn't have a finer company or a finer corporate citizen than the Green family, in terms of their chains of stores around the country and what they have done. The reason they are successful is because they actually care, nurture, and support every one of their employees.

They work on principles that they truly believe in, and it has really been the key to their success. They are never open on the sabbath. They believe in paying somebody a livable wage. They are big in the community. As a matter of fact, they are one of the largest contributors to organizations that are funded in the charitable realm. They go down deep to actually help people. They come with pure motives.

The Senator from Missouri mentioned what Thomas Jefferson said in 1809:

No provision in our Constitution ought to be dearer to man than that which protects the rights of conscience against the enterprises of civil authority.

I want you to listen to that for a minute. Jefferson, one of the authors of the rules of the Senate, one of the key Framers of the very Constitution that we live under, recognized that it is most important to protect this conscience of the Green family to do what they think, according to their faith, is the right thing to do.

My colleague referenced the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Why was that necessary? Because we saw civil government starting to impede into an arena that Thomas Jefferson warned about. That is why it was passed, that is why it was signed, and that is why it is the law of the land. This is going to be a seminal case, and it has nothing to do with birth control. Hobby Lobby pays for birth control. It always has and always will. It has to do with can we allow the civil government to impede to such a level, as my colleague from Missouri said, that the government can now tell you what your values are, what you have to think, and how you have to act, on the basis of what the government says your values are.

As an obstetrician who has delivered more than 4,000 children, as somebody who has cared for every complication of pregnancy, as somebody who believes in the value of newly created human life, all the Greens are saying is: We really shouldn't have to pay our money to abort a baby when we find it unconscionable to take innocent human life. It doesn't mean that people that work for them cannot get an abortion. It just says they don't want to violate their own conscience by supplying it.

The other issue that ought to be evident to everybody is that plan B is over the counter. It is not even part of your health care. You can go buy it. As a matter of fact, there is not even an age limit on it now. A 12-year-old can go buy it over the counter. So it is not about limiting abortion; it is about the conscience of a very successful company. The reason they are successful is they follow the teachings of their faith. Now we have government in a position where they are going to tell them what their faith is.

Let me reiterate what Jefferson said:

No provision in our Constitution ought to be dearer to man than that which protects the rights of conscience against the enterprises of civil authority.

These are deeply felt and held beliefs based on their faith.

The other side of this is we see their deeply held beliefs and how they have rescued universities, how they have come to the aid of food pantries, how they have actually been active in the community. Everywhere they are involved they are out following the same deeply held beliefs of helping the poor and indigent, giving people an opportunity through a college education that they never would have had, giving people a day of rest.

Their stores are not open late. Their employees get to go home. They could sell more products if they were open later. They could sell more product if they were open on Sunday. They choose not to because they think the principles under which they operate their business based on their faith have created an environment which allows everybody who works for them to succeed. If you go through their businesses, if you go through their warehouses, and if you go to their stores, what you see is a smile on almost everybody's face. Why? Because people enjoy working there, because they are treated as human beings. They are lifted up. They are given opportunity. They are given the very things that we all want for our neighbors and for ourselves.

My hope is that the Constitution will be looked at as the Supreme Court considers this case and that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act will be looked at as the Supreme Court considers this case.

The Affordable Care Act is not affordable; it is unaffordable. For Americans it has a $2 trillion cost over the next 10 years. It is a disaster in terms of how it has been implemented. It is going to be a disaster in terms of quality care and delayed care because of the increased deductibles that almost everybody is facing. We shouldn't let it be a disaster in terms of destroying businesses.

We ought to embrace this family and their business for what they have done. They have taken advantage of the American enterprise system in a way that has built tremendous success, that has benefited not just the Green family but hundreds of thousands of people through their generosity, and their capability to empower people to get ahead.


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