The Constitution gives the House of Representatives, which now has a Republican majority, the power to deny funding for any act by the executive branch.
But does Boehner have the courage to stand up against the president and use this lawful authority to protect religious liberty?
On Feb. 8, 2012, Boehner went to the well of the House and laid down a marker.
"My colleagues," he said, "in recent days, Americans of every faith and political persuasion have mobilized in objection to a rule put forward by the Obama administration that constitutes an unambiguous attack on religious freedom in our country.
"This rule," Boehner told the House, "would require faith-based employers, including Catholic charities, schools, universities and hospitals, to provide services they believe are immoral. Those services include sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs and devices, and contraception. "In imposing this requirement, the federal government has drifted dangerously beyond its constitutional boundaries, encroaching on religious freedom in a manner that affects millions of Americans and harms some of our nation's most vital institutions," said Boehner.
"If the president does not reverse the department's attack on religious freedom," said Boehner, "then the Congress, acting on behalf of the American people and the Constitution that we are sworn to uphold and defend, must."
"This attack by the federal government on religious freedom in our country must not stand and will not stand," said Boehner.
Wow! Boehner said: It must not and will not stand. The speaker made only one error here -- one of omission. Obama's regulation not only requires faith-based employers and Catholic institutions to act against their consciences, it also requires lay Catholic business owners and individuals to act against their consciences.
In fact, it requires all individual Americans who morally object to taking innocent human life, through what Boehner calls "abortion-inducing drugs," to act against their consciences by paying for the use of those drugs.
As long as Republicans control the House and Democrats control the Senate and the White House, the only way the Republicans can stop Obama's regulatory attack on the constitutionally protected religious liberty of Catholics (and those who share the moral views of Catholics on these matters) is to include language in must-pass funding bills prohibiting the administration from spending money to implement the regulation.
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