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Public Statements

Trafficking Grant

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. PITTS. Mr. Speaker, earlier this week, The Washington Post uncovered astonishing evidence that political appointees at the Department of Health and Human Services meddled with a grant to help victims of human trafficking. For 5 years, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has provided these services. Now The Post has revealed that the grant renewal was denied over the objections of career staff and despite the recommendation of an independent review board that rated the Catholic program as the best agency to do the work. In fact, some career staff within HHS refused to sign the documents awarding the new grants. It cannot be a coincidence that the ACLU is suing to force the Catholic bishops to offer abortion services with this grant money.

It is outrageous that the administration appears to be letting the ACLU dictate policy and interfere with a grantee that is doing good work. Victims of trafficking will now face a reduced level of service because of political meddling.

A complaint has been referred to the HHS inspector general. I hope there will be a thorough investigation determining whether religious bigotry played a role in this grand decision.

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