Mark Pocan

From the office of:

Mark Pocan

Sending Office: Honorable Mark Pocan
Sent By:

        Request for Signature(s)

Oppose Discrimination by HHS Grantees: Co-Sign Letter to Appropriators

Cosigners: Carson, Cicilline, Hastings, Khanna, Sean Patrick Maloney, Moore, Norton, Pappas, Velazquez

Endorsing Organizations: American Civil Liberties Union,  Family Equality,
Human Rights Campaign,
Interfaith Alliance
, Movement Advancement Project,
PFLAG National

Dear Colleague,

I invite you to join me in sending a letter to the Appropriations Committee urging them to block implementation of the

proposed rule
that would allow widespread discrimination by all Department of Health and Human Services grantees in FY 2020 appropriations.

This proposed rule would allow HHS grant recipients to discriminate on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and religion when they deliver taxpayer-funded services. The potential impact of this rule is massive—HHS funds foster care, adoption,
Head Start, HIV programs, senior care, community health centers, Meals on Wheels, refugee resettlement and more.

We cannot allow this proposed rule to be finalized. Please join me in support of this letter urging that we block implementation of this dangerous rule in FY 2020 appropriations.

To join, please contact Kate Huffman of my staff at
or (202) 225-2906.






Mark Pocan

Member of Congress


Dear Chairman Shelby, Chairwoman Lowey, Vice Chairman Leahy and Ranking Member Granger,

As you work to negotiate Fiscal Year 2020 Appropriations bills, we write to request the inclusion of a prohibition on the implementation of the rule announced in the Department of Health and Human Services press release “HHS Issues Proposed Rule to Align
Grants Regulation with New legislation, Nondiscrimination Laws, and Supreme Court Decisions” on November 1, 2019.[1] The proposed rule, which has yet to be published in the Federal Register, rolls back the explicit
non-discrimination rules that have been in place at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), opening the door to many types of taxpayer-funded discrimination by HHS grant recipients. The proposed rule would impact all grants made by HHS, and we are
very concerned about what this would mean for LGBT people, women, and religious minorities seeking services funded by HHS grants.

In 2016, the Obama administration promulgated a rule to ensure that HHS’ grant programs are administered in a manner consistent with federal law. That rule made it clear that HHS grant recipients may not discriminate on the basis of non-merit factors including
sex, age, disability status, sexual orientation, gender identity and religion. The 2016 rule also required HHS grantees to recognize same-sex marriages following the Supreme Court decisions in
United States v. Windsor and Obergefell v. Hodges.[2]
[3] The Trump administration’s proposed rule would remove these critical protections for LGBT people, women and religious minorities.

The potential fallout from the Trump administration’s proposed rule is significant. We have already seen HHS grant a waiver to a religious nonprofit that provides services to youth experiencing homelessness and youth in the foster care system, allowing them
to discriminate based on the religious beliefs of prospective parents.[4] It is easy to imagine myriad ways HHS grantees could discriminate under this new rule. Grantees could decline to provide HIV care to an
LGBT person on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Grantees could also refuse services to single or unmarried parents and could force a transgender child to undergo “conversion therapy” in order to access their services.

Given the breadth of services funded through HHS grants, it is critical that we maintain the non-discrimination protections put in place under the Obama administration. I urge you to prevent implementation of the Trump administration’s proposed rule in any
Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations bill.





Mark Pocan


Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information:Appropriations, Civil Rights, HealthCare

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