Senator John Ensign proposed an amendment to the the National Service bill, the Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education (GIVE) Act, a bill meant to encourage volunteerism. Senator Ensign was worried the Obama administration would not include Crisis Pregnancy Centers in the Non-Profit Capacity Building Program, an amendment to the bill that would pay legal fees for volunteer organizations.
This was a legitimate concern. In a response to a questionnaire from RH Reality Check during the campaign, Obama replied that he did not support federal funds for crisis pregnancy centers.
On the Senate floor Ensign stated, "I wished to make sure that somewhere down the line somebody at an administrative level doesn't exclude somebody because they have a different political philosophy. We want to make sure the people in these organizations are included."
Catholic Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) who has accepted over $367,000.00 from lobby groups who advocate for abortion rights, led the fight to reject the Ensign amendment stating that it was "not needed" and asked her colleagues to reject it.
The Senate did reject the amendment 56-41. Only nine of twenty-six Catholic Senators supported the amendment.
The nine Catholic Senators voting to support the Ensign amendment were; Murkowski (R-AK), Martinez (R-FL), Risch (R-ID), Brownback (R-KS), Bunning (R-KY), Vitter (R-LA), Johanns(R-NE), Voinovich (R-OH), and Casey (D-PA). This is the second pro-life vote Senator Casey has cast since being publicly admonished by his local ordinary, Bishop Martino.
The Catholic Senators opposing the Ensign amendment are Senators; Begich (D-AK), Dodd (D-CT), Kaufman (D-CT), Durbin (D-IL), Harkin (D-IA), Landrieu (D- LA), Collins (R-ME), Mikulski (D-MD), Kerry (D-MA), McCaskill (D-MO), Menendez (D-NJ), Gillibrand (D-NY), Reed (D-RI), Leahy (D-VT), Cantwell (D-WA), Murray (D-WA). Senator Kennedy did not vote.
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