September 30, 2013

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) held a news conference on the Affordable Care Act and impending government shutdown Monday, which was broadcast on C-Span.

Boxer says a potential government shutdown would be especially harmful to women because Republicans have targeted a part of the Affordable Care Act that benefits women's health needs.

"Republicans are obsessed with stopping the Affordable Health Care Act," said Boxer.

“The latest Republican shutdown plan continues their war on women,” said Sen. Barbara Boxer, who called the House bill “a budget buster” for its repeal of a medical device tax that would account for an estimated $39 billion on revenues, and a danger to the economy, since government workers will receive no pay during the shutdown, and small businesses that depend on the functioning of government institutions and parks will see reduced income.

“But now they’ve added a new target, the Republicans have, a group they frequently punish—a group called women,” Boxer said. “Follow this: They keep all other benefits of Obamacare that have gone into effect already…but they do single out only one existing benefit to stop, and that benefit is known as the Women’s Health Amendment.”

Boxer spoke alongside Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) to slam GOP lawmakers for continuing to try and repeal or delay the healthcare law as part of legislation to keep the government running beyond the end of this month.

"In the dead of night, while most of us were sleeping, they snuck in a provision one more time that specifically targets women of this country," Hirono said. "It's just amazing. We have laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, race, religion, and yet they put in a provision that just targets women. It truly defies logic."

The "conscience clause," which would also allow employers to opt out of covering screenings for cervical cancer, pregnancy-related diabetes and sexually transmitted infections, was added into the House spending bill on Saturday. The provision is similar to Senator Roy Blunt's (R-MO) controversial proposal in 2011, which the Senate flatly rejected.

"Here's the thing," Boxer told reporters, "Republicans already lost a vote on this very provision in the U.S. Senate, and they lost an election in part because the voters rejected their war on women, but still the war on women continues. They cannot seem to stop themselves, so we will stop them."

Republicans said the purpose of the provision was to protect the religious freedom of employers who have moral or religious objections to contraception or any other preventative care for women that Obamacare requires them to cover.

Boxer said the Senate would strip out the conscience clause and the provision that defunds Obamacare and send a clean spending bill back to the House. If the House fails to accept the Senate's version, the federal government will shut down.

She also had stern words for House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH),"Act like a Speaker of the House, not just a speaker of the Republicans, and pass my bill," Boxer said.

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