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Senator Scott, Representative Norman Lead Effort to Protect Faith-Based Child Welfare Providers

On Thursday, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) and Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC-5) led a bicameral letter to Secretary Xavier Becerra of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) concerning the negative impact his department’s recent actions could have on religious liberties.
In total, 102 members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives signed this letter requesting information from Secretary Becerra on the withdraw of non-discrimination waivers for several states, including South Carolina, a decision which is likely to harm faith-based adoption and foster care agencies. 
Additionally, the letter seeks information as to why Secretary Becerra revoked the authority of his Department’s Office for Civil Rights to receive and review complaints concerning possible violations of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).
Thursday’s letter to Secretary Becerra affirms that faith-based child welfare providers perform critical services for hundreds of thousands of foster children across the nation. Further, it questions why the Biden administration appears to be placing ideology over the interests of the law, children, and faith-based partners who only want to continue serving their communities. It asks HHS to provide:
  • better answers as to why the Department rescinded previously granted waivers; and
  • reasoning as to why HHS stripped its Office for Civil Rights of its existing authority to investigate and oversee complaints under RFRA and the religion clauses of the First Amendment.
Rep. Norman issued the following statement on Thursday: “Faith-based child welfare agencies are doing incredible work throughout our nation and here in South Carolina, and it is unconscionable that government bureaucrats would seek to roadblock their efforts. By withdrawing non-discrimination waivers and cutting out the Office for Civil Rights’ authority to review religious freedom complaints, this appears to be a deliberate attempt by this Administration to devalue religious liberties, making them a mere footstool to elevate their far-left agenda. On behalf of countless faith-based agencies and the families they serve, I want to know exactly how HHS and Secretary Becerra have reached these alarming decisions, and what the Secretary intends to do to reaffirm and protect religious freedoms.”
Sen. Scott added, “For decades, faith-based child welfare agencies have provided safe and loving homes for our nation’s children. Rather than celebrating that work, Secretary Becerra and President Biden’s recent steps will force many providers to choose between abandoning their religious beliefs or closing their doors. This is not only an attack on religious liberty—it’s also a disservice to the 400,000 children who depend on the work of these providers.”