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US House passes federal funding bill proposing to defund Affordable Care Act

The US House of Representatives [official website] Friday voted 230 to 189 [H.J.Res.59 materials] to approve the necessary stop gap funding for federal agencies, but also included terms which would strip funding from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) [text, PDF; JURIST backgrounder]. The new budget year begins on October 1 and without legislation authorizing government spending, most federal operations will halt [Washington Post report]. In his weekly address to the nation, President Barack Obama [official website] chastised [press release] the attempt to repeal the PPACA. The funding bill now moves to the Senate, where revisions may take until September 29 before the bill can be returned to the House for final approval.

The PPACA has been under fire since it was signed into law by Obama on March 23, 2010. Most recently, the Obama administration petitioned [JURIST report] the US Supreme Court [official website] to review the PPACA's "contraception mandate," which requires employers to provide insurance covering birth control. US Courts of Appeals have split on the topic: the Third Circuit has held that profit-making businesses cannot challenge the mandate [JURIST report] on religious grounds, but the Tenth Circuit has ruled that businesses may challenge the mandate on religious grounds. Earlier this month, JURIST Guest Columnist Nicholas Caselli argued [JURIST op-ed] that corporations should not be able to impose their religious beliefs on employees. In December, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor denied [JURIST report] Hobby Lobby, Inc.'s [corporate website] application for an injunction to prevent enforcement of the contraception mandate, ruling that the Hobby Lobby family did not meet the standard of showing that they have an "indisputably clear" legal right to an injunction while appeal is pending.

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