In God We Trust
Over the past several years, we have seen efforts to change our national motto in a de facto manner. Federal agencies and departments have been instructed that the phrase not be posted in those buildings. If ever there was a time we should reaffirm our national motto, it is now. Congressman Forbes has introduced H.Con.Res.13 to reaffirm our national motto and to support and encourage the public display of the national motto in all public buildings, public schools, and government institutions. Read more.
Protecting Our American Values
Read about Congressman Forbes' efforts to defend the family and reaffirm the role of faith in the public square.More...
International Religious Freedom a Priority
Congressman Forbes supports a bill to make a number of strategic improvements to the Religious Freedom Office within the State Department. More...
No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion
Congressman Forbes voted for the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, which prohibits federal funding of abortion. More...
Defended the rights of states to enforce their laws. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the State Marriage Defense Act, H.R. 3829, which requires the federal government to respect each state’s definition of marriage when applying federal laws and regulations. The Supreme Court left the definition of marriage to the states when it decided United States v. Windsor, and it is vital that the principles of federalism be protected.
Supported permanent pro-life policies for the use of federal funds. Congressman Forbes supported the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, H.R. 7, which makes permanent restrictions on the federal funding of abortions that are currently reenacted annually. It also incorporates provisions of the Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act (H.R. 3279) that will provide full disclosure and transparency of abortion coverage to consumers who are shopping for health insurance plans on the exchanges. This bill passed by a vote of 227 to 188.
Defended “so help me God” in our solemn oaths. Congressman Forbes signed a letter to Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson, Superintendent of the Air Force Academy, expressing concern over the removal of “so help me God” from three military oaths printed in the 2012 Cadet Contrails Handbook. Each of the oaths includes the phrase as they appear in the text of the Unites States Code and the Code of Federal Regulations. Congressman Forbes also cosponsored H.R. 3416, which requires congressional approval before any oath taken by cadets and midshipmen at U.S. Military Academies can be changed.
Promoted transparency in healthcare plans. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act, H.R. 3279, which will require that all healthcare plans on the exchanges disclose up front whether or not the plan covers abortion. If the plan includes abortion, it must also disclose the amount of the abortion surcharge. Currently, the Affordable Care Act contains a clause which makes it nearly impossible for individuals to identify what plans in their state exchanges exclude abortion.
Promoted adoption. Congressman Forbes supported the Promoting Adoption and Legal Guardianship for Children in Foster Care Act, H.R.3205, which reauthorizes the Adoption Incentives Program and revises the data on awards granted to focus on increasing adoption rates. This bill passed the House 402-0.
Urged protections for conscience rights and the unborn. Congressman Forbes joined 72 of his colleagues in sending a letter to Speaker of the House, John Boehner, urging that protections for rights of conscience and the unborn be included in any continuing resolution or legislation addressing the debt ceiling. The Affordable Care Act infringes on the religious liberty of countless American by requiring individuals, charities, and businesses to purchase health insurance coverage that includes services to which they have a moral or religious objection.
Protected First Amendment religious freedoms. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act, H.R. 3133, which prohibits the federal government from discriminating against an individual or an organization because of a moral or religious belief in traditional marriage. The Act prohibits the denial or revocation of an organization’s tax exempt status, the denial of a federal tax deduction for a charitable contribution, or the denial or exclusion of an individual or organization from qualifying for loans, licenses, certifications, accreditation, employment, or federal contracts.
Called on the Office of Personnel Management to comply with the law, refrain from subsidizing abortion. Congressman Forbes joined 84 of his colleagues in sending a letter to Elaine Kaplan, the Acting Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), asking how OPM plans on complying with the Smith Amendment as OPM determines what role it will play in overseeing the health plans of federal employees under the new health care law. The Smith Amendment prohibits OPM from engaging in administrative duties in connection with Insurance plans that include abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother.
Protected young girls from the harmful effects of drugs intended for adults. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Schoolchildren’s Health Protection Act, H.R. 2943, which would prohibit schools that receive federal funding from distributing powerful emergency contraceptive drugs to children. Many schools distribute these drugs to minors without informing the child’s parents and without consulting the child’s doctor.
Defended the definition of marriage. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.J.Res. 51, a bill that would amend the United States Constitution to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The amendment prohibits the state and federal governments from conferring marriage or marriage benefits on any union outside this definition.
Protected the rights of parents from unnecessary government interference. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Parental Rights Amendment, H.J.Res.50, which would amend the U.S. Constitution to ensure that parents have a fundamental right to direct the upbringing, education, and care of their children. Additionally, the amendment declares that no federal or state government action, including ratification of an international treaty, can infringe upon this right without demonstrating a governmental interest of the highest order.
Prohibited abortion of unborn children who are capable of feeling extreme pain. Congressman Forbes supported the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, H.R. 1797, which prohibits abortions on unborn children that are beyond twenty weeks gestation on the basis that children at this stage of development can feel pain. The bill contains an exception for situations in which the life of the mother is endangered, as well as for cases of rape or incest. This bill passed by a vote of 228 – 196.
Called for compliance with child support programs. Congressman Forbes supported the International Child Support Recovery Improvement Act, H.R.1896, which ensures that the United States can comply fully with the obligations of the Hague Convention of November 2007 on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance. The Hague Convention of November 2007 on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance established a comprehensive system of cooperation between the authorities of the participating countries, and it was consented to by the Senate in 2010. To execute the agreement, legislation is needed to implement improvements to the state-administered child support enforcement program and increase child support collections from parents residing overseas. This bill passed by a vote of 394-27.
Recognized the importance of fathers. In honor of Father’s Day, Congressman Forbes cosponsored a resolution, H.Res.263, recognizing the immeasurable contributions of fathers to the healthy development of their children, in teaching them life lessons, and in preparing them for success. The resolution encourages fathers to be active in the rearing and development of their children, calling on them to rededicate themselves to their children’s well-being.
Supported School Board Prayer. Congressman Forbes cosponsored a resolution, H.Res.250, recognizing that school boards are deliberative public bodies and therefore should be free to engage in prayer at the beginning of meetings consistent with the Supreme Court’s decision in Marsh vs. Chambers. The resolution also recognizes that prayer is a protected act under the founding principles of our nation and emphasizes the historic tradition of deliberative body prayer.
Supported the role of fathers. Congressman Forbes cosponsored a resolution, H.Res.263, in honor of Father’s Day. The resolution recognizes the crucial role that fathers play in the well-being and upbringing of their children and calls on fathers to reconnect and rededicate themselves to their children’s lives.
Opposed human cloning. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Human Cloning Protection Act, H.R. 2164, which prohibits the actual or attempted cloning of human beings and prohibits the transport of any periodic serviced from human cloning. The bill also provides for both civil and criminal penalties for violations. The process of cloning deliberately creates a human embryo to be destroyed in scientific research. This bill prohibits cloning human life for the purpose of killing it, while still permitting and encouraging adult stem cell research, which does not create life for the purpose of research. Adult stem cell research is both ethical and promising. Over 2,200 adult stem cell clinical trials are ongoing or have been complete and over 50,000 patients are treated with adult stem cells each year.
Urged protection for health and safety of children. Congressman Forbes joined his colleagues in sending a letter to Attorney General Holder addressing a NY District Court decision that requires the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Federal Drug Administration to make the morning-after-pill available over the counter for children under the age of 17. Currently, the morning-after-pill is available without a prescription for women ages 17 and older, but a prescription is required for girls age 16 and younger. This policy is based on a 2011 decision by HHS Secretary Sebelius that concluded there is not enough data to ensure it is safe for young girls to have access to this drug.
Fought for conscience protections for business owners and health care providers. Congressman Forbes joined 91 Members in sending a letter to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, requesting that conscience protections be included in the appropriations bill for fiscal year 2014. The conscience protections would counter the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) mandate that requires most employers to provide health plans that cover abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraceptives, even if doing so directly violates their moral or religious beliefs. These protections would ensure that religious organizations, private businesses, institutions of higher education, health care providers, and insurance companies are not required to sponsor insurance coverage that violates their moral or religious beliefs, and would also not be fined.
Defended the lives of unborn children who are capable of feeling extreme pain. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the DC Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, H.R. 1797, which prohibits abortions in the District of Columbia on unborn children that are beyond twenty weeks gestation, on the basis that children at this stage of development can feel pain; however, the bill contains an exception for situations in which the life of the mother is endangered.
Protected the sanctity of life. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Life at Conception Act, H.R.1091, which declares that the right to life guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution vests in each person from the moment of fertilization. The bill would guarantee the constitutional right to life for unborn children.
Supported the of safety young girls and the right of parents to be involved in their daughters’ life-altering decisions. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act, H.R.732, which would prohibit the transportation of a minor across state lines for the purpose of obtaining an abortion, if such is done to evade parental notification or consent laws in effect in the minor’s home state. The bill would safeguard the ability of parents to be involved in maintaining the health and well-being of their children.
Urged robust religious freedom protection for service members and chaplains. Congressman Forbes lead 59 Members of Congress in sending a letter to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, urging him to ensure that the religious freedom regulations expected to be issued by the Department of Defense (DoD) comport with the intent expressed by Congress in the recently enacted FY 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). One of President Obama’s first moves in 2013 was to sign into law the FY 2013 NDAA, legislation that authorized and prioritized funding for DoD and other select national security programs. Yet he contemporaneously issued a statement criticizing several portions of the bill—including the religious freedom protections. The President called the provisions “unnecessary and ill-advised.” The letter calls on DoD to “accommodate service members’ moral and religious convictions and refrain from using service members’ beliefs as the basis for adverse personnel action.”
Worked to prevent federal funds from subsidizing the abortion industry. Congressman Forbes joined 71 Members of the Senate and House of Representatives in sending a letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) requesting a report on how taxpayer funds are used by Planned Parenthood and other groups that promote and perform abortions. The letter requests information on the amount of taxpayer funds received by each organization, a comprehensive list of services provided by each, and the number of individuals served in each category. According to Planned Parenthood’s 2011-2012 Annual Report, the organization received more than $542 million in taxpayer funding for the year, comprising 45% of its annual budget. The information requested from GAO will reveal which services and procedures are emphasized most by these organizations, and will enable Congress to ensure that federal funds are not being used to subsidize the abortion industry.
Opposed government action that forces Americans to violate their constitutionally protected free exercise of religion. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Health Care Conscience Rights Act, H.R. 940, which would counter the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) mandate that will force many Americans to abandon their religious beliefs. The HHS mandate requires most employers to provide health plans that cover abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraceptives, even if doing directly violates their moral or religious beliefs. H.R. 940 would to stop this assault on religious freedom by amending the President’s health care law to ensure that religious organizations, private businesses, institutions of higher education, health care providers, and insurance companies are not required to sponsor insurance coverage that violates their moral or religious beliefs. The bill also would ensure that health care professionals are not punished if their moral or religious convictions preclude them from participating in abortions. Finally, the bill would equip victims of such discrimination with an avenue to vindicate their rights in court, rather than having to first exhaust remedies offered by the Department of Health and Human Services, which has contributed to the problematic regulatory frameworks that have resulted in such discrimination. Since the HHS mandate was issued, 140 plaintiffs have filed more than 40 religious freedom lawsuits challenging it.
Worked to protect and promote the welfare of children in the foster care system. Congressman Forbes joined the bipartisan Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth, which works to protect and promote the welfare of children in foster care, as well as those who have “aged out” of the system. The Caucus provides an opportunity for Members to examine the challenges facing the more than 424,000 children and older youth in the foster care system, and recommend policies for improving child welfare.
Worked to place churches on equal footing with other nonprofits for FEMA disaster aid. Congressman Forbes supported the Federal Disaster Assistance Nonprofit Fairness Act of 2013, H.R. 592, which would place houses of worship on equal footing with other nonprofit organizations seeking assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Although FEMA allows various nonprofits that serve a community purpose to seek assistance in the wake of disasters, houses of worship have been excluded from the list. After being impacted by Superstorm Sandy, hundreds of churches and synagogues discovered that they were ineligible for assistance even though they play essential roles in their communities. The bill passed by a vote of 354-72
Worked to preserve a memorial to World War II veterans. Congressman Forbes joined 10 Members of the House of Representatives in signing an amicus curiae brief that urged a federal district court to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a World War II memorial statue of Jesus in Montana’s Flathead National Forest. The brief, filed by the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), explains that the Constitution does not require that government property be stripped of all displays that have religious meaning. The Knights of Columbus erected the statue in the early 1950s in honor of the WWII veterans who saw similar statues as symbols of hope while they were stationed in Europe. The Freedom From Religion Foundation filed the lawsuit, arguing that the statue’s presence on public land is a government endorsement of Christianity and therefore violates the Establishment Clause.
Prevented discrimination against unborn children on the basis of sex or race. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA), H.R. 447, which would prohibit a woman from being coerced into aborting her unborn child because of the child’s sex or race. A woman on whom such an abortion is performed would not be held liable. However, PRENDA would prohibit a physician from knowingly participating in such a procedure, and would hold an individual liable who coerces a woman to have such a procedure. Although the United States regularly condemns other countries for practicing sex-selection abortions, we do not have a law in place in our own country that prohibits this behavior. The House of Representatives previously passed a resolution to condemn China for these practices, while failing to protect against the practice here at home.
Defended the freedom of legislative bodies to open with prayer. Congressman Forbes joined 48 former and current Members of the House of Representatives in signing an amicus curiae brief supporting legislative prayer. The brief asks the Supreme Court to take up the case of Town of Greece v. Galloway and reverse the lower court’s ruling, which struck down the town’s policy of opening board meetings with a prayer. The town allowed private citizens to volunteer to offer prayers at the beginning of meetings, and individuals from any religious tradition were allowed to participate. Nevertheless, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit struck down the prayer practice as unconstitutional. The Members’ brief supports the town’s plea, enumerating the longstanding practice of legislative prayer in the U.S. House of Representatives. The brief explains that the Second Circuit’s ruling would render the House’s 224-year practice unconstitutional, and concludes by asking the Supreme Court to take up the case and reverse the Second Circuit’s ruling, as it cannot possibly be the rule the Constitution requires.
Prohibited federal family planning funds from subsidizing organizations that perform abortions. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act, H.R. 217, which would prohibit federal family planning funds under Title X from going to organizations that perform abortions. The bill would not reduce family planning funding, but would ensure that the taxpayer-funded Title X program does not subsidize the abortion industry by funding organizations such as Planned Parenthood. The bill would provide an exception for abortions in cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is in danger.
Opposed restrictions on religious expression at senior living facilities. Congressman Forbes led 15 Members of Congress in sending a letter calling on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to clarify that recipients of HUD funding are not required to prohibit or in any way inhibit the religious expression of seniors at living facilities. A resident at a senior living complex was prohibited from reading her Bible, praying, and engaging in conversations about her faith. While she was having a private conversation in the commons area, the facility’s social worker interrupted, advising her that such religious discussion was not permitted because the complex is subsidized by HUD. Thankfully, the situation was quickly resolved after she notified legal counsel of the incident; however, the Members expressed concern that confusion by other recipients of HUD funds could lead to similar suppression at other housing facilities.
Defended the constitutionality of a World War II memorial statue of Jesus. Congressman Forbes joined 17 Members of Congress in submitting an amicus curiae brief defending the constitutionality of a World War II memorial statue of Jesus in Montana’s Flathead National Forest. The Knights of Columbus erected the statue on a small plot of land in the early 1950s and have a special-use permit that must be renewed every ten years. In 2011, the U.S. Forest Service refused to renew the permit citing concerns about litigation; however, officials eventually reversed course after receiving approximately 95,000 comments in support of the memorial. The brief was filed in response to a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the statue’s presence on public land.
Advocated for religious freedom protections for employers. Congressman Forbes joined 79 Members of Congress in submitting amicus curiae briefs in 12 religious liberty cases challenging the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) contraceptive mandate as a violation of the religious freedom of scores of Americans. The briefs underscore our nation’s rich legacy of accommodating the religious beliefs and practices of its citizens, and explain that unless the mandate is altered or overturned, it will force many individuals and organizations to directly violate their religious beliefs. The HHS mandate, which took effect on August 1, 2012, requires most employers to sponsor employee health plans that that cover abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraceptives—services directly infringing upon many employers’ religious beliefs.
Prohibited use of federal funds for dismantling Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial Cross. Congressman Forbes supported the Department of Defense Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2013, H.R. 5856, which included language to prohibit federal funds from being used to remove any portion of the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial in San Diego, California. The Supreme Court recently declined to review a decision by three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit of Appeals, which held that a cross’s presence at the memorial was unconstitutional. Congressman Forbes has consistently supported efforts to ensure that this memorial to our nation’s veterans is not dismantled or stripped of symbols that honor their service.
Protected the rights of parents from unnecessary government interference. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Parental Rights Amendment, H.J.Res.110, which would amend the U.S. Constitution to ensure that parents have a fundamental right to direct the upbringing, education, and care of their children. Additionally, the amendment declares that no federal or state government action, including ratification of an international treaty, can infringe upon this right without demonstrating a governmental interest of the highest order.
Supported the freedom of legislative bodies to open meetings with invocation. Congressman Forbes led 12 Members of Congress in submitting an amicus curiae brief to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in support of voluntary legislative prayer, generally asserting that courts do not have the jurisdiction to delve into the inner workings of a deliberative body’s meetings because of the constitutional separation of powers between the branches of government. In 1983, the Supreme Court acknowledged that “The opening of sessions of legislative and other deliberative public bodies with prayer is deeply embedded in the history and tradition of this country.”
Defended employers from infringement of their religious beliefs. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Religious Freedom Tax Repeal Act, H.R. 6097, which would allow employers to refrain from offering service in their employee health care plans if the services conflict with their religious beliefs or moral convictions. The bill would protect employers from facing taxes, penalties, or enforcement actions for their non-compliance with the mandate issued by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that would force scores of employers to provide health plans that directly violate their religious beliefs.
Hostility Toward Faith in the Air Force. Congressman Forbes joined Congresswoman Diane Black and Congressman Todd Akin in sending a letter signed by 66 Members of Congress urging Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta to investigate a pattern of hostility towards faith in the United States Air Force. Over the last year, the Air Force has repeatedly capitulated to pressure from outside groups to remove religious symbols and references to faith from the service. According to Congressman Forbes, “When viewed individually, any of these actions is concerning. But taken together, they highlight an alarming pattern in the Air Force that we do not see in the other branches of the military. Those who sacrifice so much for our nation must be assured that they need not leave their faith at home when they volunteer to serve.” The letter calls on Secretary Panetta to issue clear Department of Defense policy guidance, consistent with our Constitution, to preserve the place of religious expression in the military at large.
Prohibited the use of Federal Funding for Elective Abortions for Detainees. Congressman Forbes voted in favor of the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act (H.R. 5855), which included a provision that prohibited funds from being used to pay for abortions for detainees held in Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention centers. The bill also contained conscience protections to prevent any person from being forced to participate in the performance of an abortion. The provisions were added to H.R.5855 when it became apparent that, due to a loophole inadvertently created by the Homeland Security Act of 2002, nothing in the statute prevented taxpayer dollars from being used to fund abortions for detainees.
Defended the Constitutionality of Annual Day of Prayer Proclamations. Congressman Forbes joined 14 Members of Congress in sending a letter to Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, urging him to appeal a recent ruling by the Colorado Court of Appeals that held that the annual Colorado Day of Prayer proclamations violated the state constitution. The letter explained that the Denver District Court previously had ruled correctly by dismissing the lawsuit. In its ruling, the district court said, “. . . there is nothing controversial about a restatement of a right protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.” Throughout our nation’s history, prayer has been deeply woven into the foundation of our great democracy. Congressman Forbes will continue working to ensure that this legacy is preserved for future generations.
Supported a Prohibition on Federal Funding for Telemedicine Abortions. Congressman Forbes became a cosponsor of the Telemedicine Safety Act (H.R.5731), which would prohibit federal funds from being used to provide telemedicine abortions, and would prohibit telemedicine abortions from occurring across state lines. Planned Parenthood clinics across the country are using videoconferencing technology to dispense the abortion drug RU-486 to patients, without the patient having a doctor present. Such “telemedicine abortions” are dangerous because mothers are given access to an abortion causing drug that has a history of serious side effects, without having access to a doctor in case of emergency. H.R. 5731 is an important step to protecting the health of women, as RU-486 has been associated with cases of severe bleeding and even death.
Opposing Discrimination against Religious Student Groups at Vanderbilt University. Congressman Forbes led 35 Members of the House of Representatives in sending a letter to Vanderbilt University, urging the school to modify its nondiscrimination policy to stop discriminating against religious student groups. Last year, several religious student groups were placed on “provisional status” for requiring their leaders to share the groups’ religious beliefs. Vanderbilt’s policy requires all student groups to open leadership positions to all students. Yet the university has exempted fraternities and sororities from the requirement, while refusing to exempt religious student groups. As a result, religious student groups are prohibited from selecting leaders who adhere to their core beliefs. If Vanderbilt does not change its policy, at least eleven groups will be forced to leave campus. Religious groups must be allowed to select leaders that share their core religious beliefs in order to carry out their most basic functions. It is not discrimination; it is common sense.
Supported abstinence education programs. Congressman Forbes joined 37 Members of the House of Representatives in sending a bipartisan letter to the House Appropriations Committee urging the committee to continue working to eliminate some of the disparity between contraceptive-centered sex education programs and abstinence-centered education programs. President's Obama’s FY 2013 budget allocates 96% of all sex education funds to non-abstinence focused programs. The letter does not call for an increase in sex education funding, but requests parity between abstinence and contraceptive based sex education programs, given the evidence supporting the effectiveness of abstinence-based programs.
Opposes Measures that Force People of Faith to Compromise Beliefs. Congressman Forbes joined 90 of his colleagues in sending a letter to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius opposing the mandate that will force scores of religious employers to directly violate their religious beliefs by providing employees with health plans that cover abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraceptives. The letter emphasized that it is unacceptable to force employers to choose between their faith and their livelihood. America has long respected people of faith by implementing policies that protect their participation in the public square; however, this mandate is a significant deviation from that rich tradition.
Supported Parental Notification Prior to Abortion by a Minor. Congressman Forbes supported the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act, H.R.2299, which would make it a federal offense to transport a minor across state lines for an abortion in order to avoid parental involvement laws in the minor’s home state, and would require that a minor’s parents be notified before an abortion is conducted on the minor in another state. This bill was reported favorably by the Judiciary Committee by a vote of 20-13.
Defended the presence of a cross at veterans memorial. Congressman Forbes led 33 Members of Congress in submitting an amicus curiae brief to the Supreme Court, defending the presence of a cross at the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial in California. The brief asks the Supreme Court to reverse a lower court decision that held the cross’s presence at the memorial unconstitutional. In recent years, lawsuits have alleged that the cross is an unconstitutional endorsement of religion. A cross has been at the memorial since 1913, and Congress has tried repeatedly to preserve this historic monument to our veterans. Congressman Forbes will continue working to ensure that memorials to our nation’s veterans are not dismantled and stripped of symbols that honor their service.
Protected School-Aged Girls from Receiving Dangerous Drugs at School. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Schoolchildren’s Health Protection Act (H.R. 4046), which would prohibit federal funds from going to elementary and secondary schools that distribute emergency contraceptive drugs to girls at school-based health care centers (SBHCs). Currently, unless prohibited by a state or local school district regulation, any SBHC that receives federal funding has the authority to distribute these strong drugs to elementary and secondary school-aged girls without parental consent even though there are serious health risks associated with the drugs, including increased risk of blood clots, heart attack, and stroke.
Shed light on a pattern of hostility toward religious freedom. Congressman Forbes released a document highlighting the recent mandate by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and examining it in the broader context of hostility towards religious freedom. The HHS mandate will force all health plans to provide abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization, and only contains a narrow exemption for select religious employers. This will, in effect, force numerous non-exempted employers to provide services to which they have religious and moral objections. In response to a firestorm of opposition, President Obama recently announced a slight modification to the mandate that has failed to satisfy numerous religious leaders. Employees at religious organizations will receive still these services by virtue of the insurance plans offered by their employers, despite their employers’ religious and moral objections. A copy of the document is available here.
Opposed a decision by the Air Force to remove “God” from official logo. Congressman Forbes, co-Chairman of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, appeared on Fox News Channel’s “America’s Newsroom” to protest the recent decision by the Air Force to remove “God” from the official patch of the Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO) due to pressure from the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers. Congressman Forbes explained that the decision by the Air Force is yet another example of a pattern of hostility towards religious freedom, and affirmed his commitment to ensure that the constitutional freedoms of our men and women in uniform are not surrendered because of pressure from those that seek to remove faith from the public square.
Recognized the significant impact of traditional marriage on families and communities. Congressman Forbes entered an Extension of Remarks in the Congressional Record in honor of National Marriage Week, which is observed each year from February 7th to 14th. His remarks noted the innumerable benefits that marriage provides to spouses and children financially, physically, and emotionally. Congressman Forbes remains committed to the conviction that traditional marriage is worth protecting, as it is one of the cornerstones of strength in our country and the foundation of families across America.
Opposing Administration Mandates that Violate Religious Freedom. Congressman Forbes joined 153 of his colleagues in sending a letter to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius requesting specific details on the process that HHS followed in reading and evaluating the more than 200,000 public comments it received regarding the August 3, 2011 mandate that will force all health insurance plans to cover contraception, sterilization, and abortifacients with no co-pay from the patient. Although HHS received significant opposition to the mandate, which only provides a narrow exemption for select religious institutions, HHS merely postponed implementation of the mandate one year, essentially telling individuals they have an extra year to learn to violate their consciences. The letter asks Secretary Sebelius to suspend the mandate until HHS can ensure that constitutionally protected conscience rights of individuals and health care providers will not be violated. A copy of the letter is available here.
Prohibited abortion of unborn children who are capable of feeling extreme pain. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, H.R. 3803, which prohibits abortions in the District of Columbia on unborn children that are beyond twenty weeks gestation, on the basis that children at this stage of development can feel pain. The consensus among the medical community is that an unborn child can feel pain by at least twenty weeks gestation, perhaps significantly earlier. The bill contains an exception for situations in which the life of the mother is endangered. Five states have passed similar legislation and more state legislatures are considering the measure this year. H.R. 3803 will ensure that unborn children in the District of Columbia are spared the great pain they would experience if their lives ended in abortion.
Opposed the removal of “God” from Air Force logo due to outside pressure. Congressman Forbes led 35 Members of Congress in sending a bipartisan letter to Air Force Secretary Michael Donley and Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz expressing conforcern over recent news that the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO) changed its logo to remove a reference to “God” after receiving complaints from the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers (MAAF). The RCO patch, like many unit patches, included a line in Latin meant to be a clever pun understood by members of the unit. The logo previously displayed the motto "Opus Dei Cum Pecunia Alienum Efficemus" (Doing God’s Work with Other People’s Money), but was altered to now read "Miraculi Cum Pecunia Alienum Efficemus" (Doing Miracles with Other People’s Money). A copy of the letter is available here.
Increased opportunity for women to make more informed decisions prior to having an abortion. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Ultrasound Informed Consent Act, H.R. 3805, which requires that an abortion provider perform an ultrasound on a pregnant woman, display the images so the woman may view them, and provide an explanation of what the ultrasound is depicting prior to performing an abortion. Nothing in the bill prohibits the woman from turning her eyes from the image, and the bill provides an exception to the requirement when the life of the mother is endangered. This bill will ensure that women are armed with all the facts necessary to make an informed decision regarding their unborn child.
Added historic D-Day prayer to the WWII Memorial. Congressman Forbes voted for the World War II Memorial Prayer Act, H.R. 2070, which directed the Secretary of the Interior to install President. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “D-Day Prayer” at the World War II Memorial in Washington, DC. President Roosevelt delivered the prayer to the nation on June 6, 1944, the day that American troops stormed the beaches of Normandy, France. The bill prohibits the use of Federal funds to pay for the inscription, but provides for the Secretary to accept private contributions.
The bill passed the House by a vote of 386-26.
Defended the inclusion of religious symbols on memorials honoring the U.S. Armed Forces. Congressman Forbes supported the War Memorial Protection Act, H.R. 290, which authorizes the inclusion of religious symbols in military monuments. The bill was introduced after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit declared unconstitutional a cross that stands at Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial in San Diego, California. It would ensure that America’s war memorials are not stripped of our nation’s religious heritage.
The bill passed the House by a voice vote.
Supported pro-life policies and a balanced approach to sex education for youth. Congressman Forbes supported the Fiscal Year 2012 omnibus appropriations bill, which includes pro-life policies that prohibit the use of federal funds for abortion within federal employee health benefits, and prohibit federal and local funding for abortions in the District of Columbia. The bill also reduces funding for Title X of the Public Health Services Act, a source of funding for organizations that perform abortions. Additionally, it ensures pro-life policies in American foreign policy by banning foreign aid from being spent on abortions; ensuring that international family planning programs are voluntary; and prohibiting funds from going to organizations that are deemed to have supported coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization. In addition to pro-life policies, the bill encourages a balanced approach to sex education by allocating $5 million specifically for abstinence education programs. Currently, the government funds contraceptive-centered programs above abstinence programs by a rate of 16 to 1. The provision included in the Fiscal Year 2012 omnibus spending bill will eliminate some of this disparity in funding.
Supported retailers who have maintained a pro-Christmas message. Congressman Forbes joined 21 members of Congress is sending letters of support to retailers who have maintained a pro-Christmas message. While it has become increasingly popular to secularize the Christmas season, a number of national and regional retailers have chosen to keep “Christ” in Christmas and to celebrate the real reason for the season. Letters of support were sent to Walmart, Sam's Club, Target, T.J. Maxx, Sears, Lifeway, Michaels, Kohl's, Dollar General, Hallmark, Hobby Lobby, Big Lots!, Dillard's, Bass Pro Shops, Cabela's, Belk's, Dick's Sporting Goods, and Petsmart. A copy of the letter is available here.
Reversing Bans on Religious Materials at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Congressman Forbes met with Vice Admiral John Mateczun to express his concern over a September 14th memo released at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center that prohibited visitors, including family members, from giving away or using religious materials and artifacts during visits with patients. In response, Vice Admiral Mateczun stated that the memo had not been properly vetted and was being rescinded. In addition, Walter Reed has posted a public apology on its website and is working to adopt a new policy that ensures the religious freedom of its patients. The original memo can be found here.
Worked to protect the symbols and traditions of Christmas. Congressman Forbes became a cosponsor of H.Res.489, which expresses the sense of the House of Representatives that the symbols and traditions of Christmas should be protected for use by those that celebrate Christmas. Each year during the Christmas season, there are increasing efforts to remove religious symbols and references from the holiday. This season, there have been challenges to public nativity scenes in a number of cities. Additionally, we have seen a push towards “Holiday Trees,” instead of “Christmas trees,” and a prohibition on religious Christmas decorations in a cancer center and a school. H.Res.489 emphasizes that the First Amendment does not require bans on religious references to Christmas, and supports the use of these symbols by those who celebrate Christmas.
Worked to prevent sex-selection abortions in the United States. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA), H.R. 3541, which prohibits abortions that are performed because of the sex, gender, or race of the unborn child or of the parent of that child. The bill also creates a private right cause of action to be raised on behalf of the unborn by the mother, father, or maternal grandparents (if the mother is younger than 18) against anyone who performs or coerces such an abortion. Although the United States regularly condemns other countries for practicing sex-selection abortions, we do not have a law in place in our own country that prohibits this behavior. In fact, the House of Representatives passed a resolution this summer to condemn China for these practices, while failing to protect against the practice here at home. H.R. 3541 would ensure that the United States prohibits this tragic discriminatory practice.
Supported investigating documented and alleged cases of fraud and misuse by Planned Parenthood. Congressman Forbes joined 91 members of the House of Representatives in sending a letter to Representative Cliff Stearns, thanking him for leading a House Energy and Commerce Committee investigation of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) and its affiliates. As Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, Rep. Stearns recently sent a letter to the President of PPFA requesting information to examine the policies and actions of PPFA and its affiliates relating to its use of federal funding and its compliance with federal restrictions on the funding of abortion. There have been both documented and alleged cases of fraud and abuse within PPFA, including the misuse of federal funding, failure to comply with mandatory reporting laws for child sexual abuse, and willingness to assist those allegedly engaged in sex-trafficking of girls as young at 14 years of age. Rep. Stearns’ investigation is aimed at ensuring accountability for the use of taxpayers’ dollars. A copy of the letter is available here.
Recognized the need for children in foster care to have permanent and loving families. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the National Adoption Day Resolution, H.Res.433, which supports the goals and ideals of National Adoption Day and National Adoption Month, recognizes that every child in foster care deserves a permanent and loving family, and encourages Americans to consider the adoption of children in foster care. National Adoption Day, November 19, 2011, is a collective national effort to find permanent families for children in foster care. Since 2000, over 30,000 children have joined families during National Adoption Day.
Strengthened conscience protections for healthcare entities. Congressman Forbes joined 124 members of the House of Representatives in sending a letter to House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers urging him to include the language of the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act (ANDA), H.R. 361, in any final appropriations package for FY 2012. ANDA would strengthen conscience protections for healthcare entities by prohibiting the government from discriminating against them for refusing to provide abortion-related services. The bill also would make conscience protections more enforceable by giving healthcare entities an opportunity to initiate legal action if they experience abortion-related discrimination. The need for ANDA was highlighted recently when reports emerged that the Obama administration denied a grant to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops due to the organization’s pro-life stance. In addition, on October 31, 2011, a group of nurses filed a lawsuit against the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey for forcing them to either participate in abortions or lose their jobs. A copy of the letter is available here.
Reaffirming Our National Motto and Encouraging its Proud Display. Congressman Forbes authored a bipartisan resolution, H.Con.Res.13, which passed the House of Representatives last week to reaffirm ‘In God We Trust’ as our national motto and encourage its display in public and government buildings. 'In God We Trust' has been our nation's motto for over five decades. It is part of our national anthem and alluded to in our Pledge of Allegiance. It is written on our coins and our currency and is engraved in both the House and the Senate chambers, as well as in numerous public buildings across our nation. Click here to learn more about the pattern of inaccuracy and omissions regarding our national motto that this resolution sought to address.
This bill passed the House by a vote of 396-9, with 2 Members voting present.
Supported abstinence education programs. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Abstinence Education Reallocation Act, H.R. 2874, which would eliminate some of the disparity in funding that exists between contraceptive-centered sex education programs and abstinence-centered education programs. Currently, the government funds contraceptive-centered programs above abstinence programs by a rate of 16 to 1. H.R. 2874 would reallocate funds provided in the recent health care law into a new Sexual Risk Avoidance program that provides competitive grants to entities that teach risk avoidance through sexual abstinence.
Defended the inclusion of the World Trade Center Cross at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the 9/11 Memorial Cross National Monument Establishment Act, H.R. 2865, to establish the 9/11 Memorial Cross as a national monument. The cross, discovered in the rubble around the World Trade Center, was formed by two steel beams from the wreckage and served as a symbol of hope for many devastated by the worst terrorist attack in our nation’s history. The cross was added to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum at the World Trade Center site. It recently came under attack when the American Atheists filed a lawsuit challenging the cross’s inclusion in the museum. H.R. 2865 would establish the cross as a national monument, thereby preserving its presence among other national symbols in the memorial.
Preventing Taxpayer Dollars from Subsidizing Abortion Services. Congressman Forbes supported the Protect Life Act, H.R. 358, to amend the recent health care law by prohibiting the use of federal taxpayer dollars to purchase insurance plans that cover abortion services. The bill also prevents the government from forcing private insurance companies to cover abortion, and provides conscience protections for health care providers to ensure that they are not discriminated against for objecting to abortion. Each year, several appropriations policies must be renewed to prevent taxpayer funding for abortion. These policies prohibit federal funds from being used to directly provide abortion services, and prevent abortions from being covered by federally sponsored health plans or programs. However, concerns arose during debate over the controversial health care bill that these annual policies were not enough to prevent the potential use of federal subsidies to purchase health insurance that includes abortion coverage from a state health insurance exchange. The bill passed the House by a vote of 251-172.
Noted the importance of prayer in our Nation’s early history. As co-Chairman of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, Congressman Forbes delivered a speech on the House floor to recognize the importance of prayer in the history of our country. He read from a proclamation issued by John Hancock as Governor of Massachusetts, in which Hancock declared a day of Public Thanksgiving and called upon the people of Massachusetts “to assemble on the said Day—and in the name of the Great Mediator, devoutly and sincerely offer to Almighty God, the gratitude of [their] Hearts, for all his goodness towards [them].” Video of Congressman Forbes' speech is available here.
Defended the right of religious student groups to preserve their religious identities. Congressman Forbes led 22 Members of Congress in sending a letter to Chancellor Nicholas Zeppos, of Vanderbilt University, urging him to ensure that the university’s nondiscrimination policy is not being implemented in a way that discriminates against religious student groups. Vanderbilt University has placed several religious student groups on “provisional status,” saying the groups are violating the school’s nondiscrimination policy by restricting their leadership positions to students who share the groups’ core religious beliefs. These groups have been long-registered on Vanderbilt’s campus and their policies have been approved by the school in the past. In the letter to Chancellor Zeppos, the Members explained that religious student groups form around specific beliefs, and that religious groups must be allowed to select leaders that share the group’s core religious beliefs in order to maintain their religious identities and carry out their primary functions. Selecting leaders that best represent a student organization’s mission is not discrimination; it is common sense. A copy of the letter is available here.
Opposed guidelines requiring all health care plans to cover sterilization and contraceptives. Congressman Forbes joined 29 Members of Congress in sending a letter to Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), expressing opposition to the recent HHS guidelines that would require all health care plans to cover sterilization and contraceptives, including some abortifacients, with no cost-sharing by the patient. The guidelines would place numerous insurers and employers in a difficult dilemma, forcing them to decide whether to cease providing health care plans or offer health care plans that violate their deeply-held religious beliefs. A copy of the letter is available here.
Raised awareness of problem gambling and prevention and treatment opportunities. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.R. 2334, the Comprehensive Problem Gambling Act that confirms problem gambling as a public health disorder and gives the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration the authority to establish programs for researching, preventing, and treating problem gambling. Last year there were over 6 million adults with a gambling problem, and the cost to society from problem gambling was $6.7 billion as families and communities were impacted through bankruptcy, divorce, and job loss.
Urged the President to maintain religious hiring rights for faith-based organizations. Congressman Forbes and Congressman Mike McIntyre (NC-07) sent a letter to President Obama urging him to maintain religious hiring rights for faith-based organizations that perform contract work for the federal government. Their letter was sent in response to recent pressure from a coalition of secular groups urging the President to overturn standing Executive Order 13279, which allows faith-based organizations that take religion into account when making employment decisions to perform federal contract work.
Defended Indiana’s right to deny funding to abortion providers. Congressman Forbes joined forty Members of Congress in submitting an amicus curiae brief to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, defending Indiana’s recent law that cancels current funding for entities that perform abortions, and bars state agencies from entering into contracts or making grants with entities that perform abortions. Planned Parenthood of Indiana had historically received federal and state funds through Medicaid, but would be denied funding under the new law. Planned Parenthood sued to prevent the law from being implemented, asserting that among other things, the law violates federal Medicaid law. In the amicus curiae brief, Members of Congress argued that federal Medicaid law allows Indiana to decide for itself which health-care providers are qualified to receive state and federal funding for providing Medicaid services.
Remembering 9/11, Calling on NYC Mayor to Include Prayer in Memorial Ceremony
Congressman Forbes sent a letter to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg urging him to include prayer in the tenth anniversary memorial ceremony of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. In the days leading up to the commemoration, the Mayor indicated that prayer was not slated for inclusion on the event’s agenda. In the letter, Congressman Forbes requested that prayer be included, “providing an opportunity for those affected most by the attacks to seek continued strength and solace.” Congressman Forbes also released a statement as the anniversary neared arguing that the Mayor's attempt to 'avoid disagreements' has only fractured the Nation on a day intended to commemorate our unity. The statement is available here and Congressman Forbes' weekly column discussing the tenth anniversary of 9/11 is available here.
Received response from NBCUniversal on "under God" omission at U.S. Open. The President of Comcast and NBCUniversal responded to a letter recently sent by Congressman Forbes and 107 other Members of Congress regarding the network’s omission of “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance during its coverage of the U.S. Open. In the response, the network President said the omission was “a serious error in judgment made by a small group of people,” and “was not an ideological decision by the company.” He further stated that the network is “taking steps to prevent similar mistakes in the future,” and is “confident that taking these steps will prevent further incidents." A copy of the letter is available here.
Urged religious freedom protections for service members. Congressman Forbes led 30 other Members of Congress in sending a letter to President Obama, urging that specific religious freedom and conscience protections be adopted during implementation of the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. The repeal of the policy implies official military support for the normalization of homosexual behavior, raising concerns that service members whose consciences or religious beliefs would conflict with that objective will face discrimination and disapproval. The letter asks President Obama to ensure that religious freedom and conscience protections be implemented to formally assure all Americans that our citizens need not leave their faith at home when they volunteer to serve.
Strengthened the safety of young girls and their parents’ right to be involved in their daughters’ life-altering decisions. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act, H.R.2299, which would make it a federal offense to transport a minor across state lines for an abortion in order to avoid parental involvement laws in the minor’s home state, and would require that a minor’s parents be notified before an abortion is conducted on the minor in another state. Although parental consent is required before minors pierce their ears or even take medication at school, some states allow minors to have abortions without parental notification. This bill would ensure that existing state laws are enforced, to allow parents the opportunity to contribute to the safety of their daughters.
Recognized the valuable role that responsible fatherhood plays in children’s lives. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Father’s Day Resolution, H.Res.315, which recognizes the immeasurable contribution that fathers make to the healthy development of their children, and calls on fathers to rededicate themselves to being more involved in their children’s lives by devoting their time, energy, and resources. The resolution also calls on fathers to understand the significant level of responsibility that fatherhood requires, and commends the millions of fathers who serve as caring parents for their children.
Defended the Pledge of Allegiance and American Heritage. Congressman Forbes was joined by 107 other Members of Congress in sending a bipartisan letter to NBC, expressing serious concern about the station’s decision to cut “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance twice during its coverage of the U.S. Open this month. The video montage containing the omissions, intended to celebrate American patriotism, instead alienated millions of viewers who place great value on all of our nation’s proud history—including its religious heritage. In the letter, the Members of Congress requested that NBC take concrete steps to prevent America’s religious heritage from being obscured in a similar manner in future broadcasts. A copy of the letter is available here.
Recognized President Roosevelt's commemorative D-Day prayer. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the World War II Memorial Act, H.R. 2070, which would add President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s D-Day prayer to the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. President Roosevelt delivered the prayer to the nation on June 6, 1944, the day that American troops stormed the beaches of Normandy, France. The bill would direct the Secretary of the Interior to install a plaque or an inscription of the prayer in the area of the Memorial, and would allow the project to be funded through private donations.
Increased transparency of federal funding expenditures at the state level. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Taxpayer Conscience Protection Act, H.R. 593, which would increase the reporting requirements for federal funds spent at the state level on organizations that perform, promote, or refer for abortion services. It is often difficult to determine the amount of federal tax dollars that go to these organizations due to inadequate reporting requirements. H.R. 593 would require states to report the amount of federal funds they paid to abortion providers, allowing taxpayers to see what programs their tax dollars are funding.
Defended states’ rights to protect life. Congressman Forbes signed a letter to Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, and Dr. Donald Berwick, Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), urging them to allow states the freedom to administer their Medicaid plans in a way consistent with the values and needs of their citizens. Indiana recently passed a law prohibiting state and federal funds from going to entities that perform abortions or maintain or operate facilities where abortions are performed, except licensed hospitals or ambulatory surgical centers. Indiana then amended its Medicaid State Plan to reflect the changes made by the new law, and submitted it to CMS for approval. Dr. Berwick rejected the plan, and sent a bulletin on this issue to all states. Media reports indicate that CMS may cut all Indiana’s Medicaid match funding over the issue.
Removed financial incentives for frivolous lawsuits targeting public expressions of religion. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Public Expression of Religion Act, H.R.2023, which prohibits activist groups that target public expressions of religion from recovering legal fees when they successfully sue localities for violating the Establishment Clause. Currently, many state and local governments are coerced into settling these lawsuits, even if their public expressions of religion are constitutional. This is due to the fear that if they lose at any stage in the case, they will have to pay their opponents’ legal fees. The bill would modify the law so that each side pays its own attorney fees, removing the monetary incentive that activist groups have in bringing these types of cases, and reducing the likelihood that localities will halt constitutionally permissible activity because of intimidation.
Encouraged prayer for regions of the U.S. recently affected by tornadoes, flooding, droughts and wildfires. Congressman Forbes cosponsored a resolution, H.Res.254, encouraging Americans to join in prayer for the individuals affected by the recent destructive weather in the South, Southeast, and Midwest. The South and Southwest have been experiencing the worst drought conditions and wildfires in years, and the South and Midwest recently were hit by destructive tornadoes and floods.
Moved to restrict taxpayer funding of abortion. Congressman Forbes supported the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, H.R.3, which prohibits taxpayer funding of elective abortions, in addition to any insurance coverage that includes elective abortions. The legislation removes all federal subsidies for abortions under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, prohibits a tax-preferred status for abortions as part of health savings accounts, and codifies the conscious clause of the Hyde-Weldon Amendment into law, providing protection for healthcare professionals, hospitals, and insurers who choose not to cover or perform abortions. This bill passed the House by a vote of 251-175.
Recognized America’s spiritual heritage. Congressman Forbes introduced the Spiritual Heritage Resolution, H.Res.253 which recognizes America’s rich spiritual heritage and designates the first week in May as “America’s Spiritual Heritage Week.”
Preserved the fundamental institution of marriage. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Marriage Protection Amendment, H.J.Res.45, which amends the United States Constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman. On February 23, 2011, President Obama ordered the Justice Department to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act, unilaterally deciding that the law barring the government from recognizing same-sex unions was unconstitutional.
Strengthened conscience protections for healthcare entities. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act, H.R.361, which would strengthen conscience protections for healthcare entities by prohibiting the government from discriminating against them for refusing to provide abortion-related services. The bill also would make conscience protections more enforceable by giving healthcare entities an opportunity to initiate legal action if they experience abortion-related discrimination.
Recognized the impact of the Ten Commandments to U.S. legal tradition. Congressman Forbes cosponsored a resolution, H.Res.211, designating the first weekend in May as Ten Commandments Weekend. The resolution recognizes the significant impact the Ten Commandments has had on the development of America’s institutions and national character.
Worked to preserve the conscience rights of healthcare providers. Congressman Forbes worked to amend the recent healthcare overhaul to protect the conscience rights and religious beliefs of healthcare providers and purchasers by cosponsoring H.R.1179. The legislation would ensure that the healthcare law does not discriminate against healthcare providers or purchasers who have religious or conscience objections to certain procedures and services.
Reaffirmed ‘In God We Trust’ as National Motto. Congressman Forbes introduced a resolution, H.Con.Res.13, reaffirming ‘In God We Trust’ as our national motto and encouraging its display in public buildings. The resolution came before the Judiciary Committee and was reported favorably to the full House for its consideration.
Supported making same-sex marriage a state issue. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Marriage Protection Act, H.R.875, which makes same-sex marriage an issue to be decided by each state individually. The bill does this by denying federal courts the jurisdiction to hear cases regarding same-sex marriage. The bill also denies the Supreme Court of the United States appellate jurisdiction to review such cases.
Requested that the Justice Department defend the Defense of Marriage Act. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.Con.Res.25, a resolution calling on the Obama Administration to reverse its decision to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act in court. On February 23, 2011, President Obama ordered the Justice Department to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act, unilaterally deciding that the law barring the government from recognizing same-sex unions was unconstitutional.
Addressed human trafficking in the U.S. Members of Congressman Forbes’ staff met with representatives from Freedom Network to discuss human trafficking in the U.S. and legislative ways to address the situation.
Supported eliminating federal funding for abortion. Congressman Forbes supported the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act (H.R. 3) during a markup in the Judiciary Committee. This bill establishes a permanent, government-wide prohibition on taxpayer funded abortion and insurance coverage that includes abortion.
Rescinded government funding for abortion. Congressman Forbes supported an amendment offered by Rep. Mike Pence (H.AMDT.95) to the Fiscal Year 2011 Continuing Resolution (H.R.1) that eliminates federal funding for Planned Parenthood. The organization reported receiving $363 million in federal funding during the past fiscal year. This amendment passed by a vote of 240-185.
Protected the sanctity of human life. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Life at Conception Act (H.R. 374), which establishes personhood at the moment of conception and is intended to guarantee the constitutional right to life for unborn children.
Preserving the Integrity of Parent Relationships. Congressman Forbes introduced the Parental Title Protection Act (H.R.635) requiring the use of “mother” and “father” when describing parents in all official documents and forms. The legislation is in response to a State Department announcement on December 22, 2010 that it was making passport applications “gender neutral” by replacing all references to “mother” and “father” with “Parent 1” and “Parent 2.”
Supported Our National Motto. Congressman Forbes introduced H.Con.Res13, a bipartisan resolution reaffirming "In God We Trust" as our national motto and supporting and encouraging the public display of the national motto in all public buildings, public schools, and other government institutions.
Opposed Taxpayer Funding for Abortion. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.R.3, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act. Under current law, funding for abortion is prohibited through numerous policies, which need annual re-approval. This bill reduces the need for several separate abortion funding policies and ensures that no program or agency is exempt from this important safeguard.
Supported the Constitutional right to life. Congressman Forbes became a cosponsor of a bill (H.R.212) declaring that the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution is vested in each human and is the person's paramount and most fundamental right; that each human life begins with fertilization, cloning, or its functional equivalent, at which time every human has all legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood; and that Congress, and all the States and U.S. territories have the authority to protect all human lives.
Prohibited providing federal funding to Planned Parenthood. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.R.217, which amends Title X of the Public Health Services Act to prohibit federal funding from being provided to an organization that performs abortions.
Supporting Traditional Marriage. Congressman Forbes cosponsored (H.Res.1607) disapproving of Chief United States District Judge Walker’s decision to strike down California’s Proposition 8 and hereby redefine traditional marriage.
Opposed performance of abortions on military bases. Congressman Forbes joined 180 Senators and Congressmen in sending a letter to both Senate and House leadership urging them to reject language in the Department of Defense Authorization bill for Fiscal Year 2011 that would allow for the performance of elective abortions on military bases.
Supported autism awareness. Congressman Forbes supported a resolution (H.Res.1219) that supports the designation of September as National Child Awareness Month. This resolution passed the House by a vote of 373-0.
Protected America’s youngest citizens. Congressman Forbes supported the Child Protection Improvements Act of 2009 (H.R.1469), which brings the National Child Protection Act of 1993 up to date. Specifically, this legislation requires background checks for individuals wishing to work for child-serving organizations. This bill passed the House by a vote of 413-4.
Ensured the safety of international children. Congressman Forbes supported the International Adoption Harmonization Act of 2010 (H.R.5532), which streamlines adoption procedures for international children who have been subjected to inhumane treatment and extreme cruelty. This bill passed the House by a voice vote.
Protected adopted Haitian children. Congressman Forbes supported the Help HAITI Act of 2010 (H.R.5283) that restores the normal immigration procedure for those Haitian children who were already in the process of being adopted prior to the earthquake experienced by that country in January. This bill passed the House by a voice vote.
Supported international adoptions. Congressman Forbes joined 75 Senators and Congressmen in sending a letter to the President of Guatemala requesting that the Guatemalan government institute a transparent and predictable process for pending American adoptions that will allow them to be resolved in a fair and expeditious manner.
Recognized Juneteenth. Congressman Forbes supported a resolution (H.Res.546), which celebrates Juneteenth Independence Day (June 19, 1985) as the day Union soldiers brought news of the end of the Civil War to Galveston, Texas and announced the freedom of all enslaved African-Americans. This resolution passed the House by a vote of 390-0.
Celebrated Father’s Day. Congressman Forbes supported a resolution (H.Res.1389) recognizing the important role of fatherhood and encourages active involvement of fathers in the rearing and development of their children, including the devotion of time, energy, and resources. This resolution passed the House by a vote of 416-0.
Celebrated the United States flag. Congressman Forbes supported a resolution (H.Res.1429) honoring the flag of the United States and promoting the ideals of Flag Day, celebrated annually on June 14. This resolution passed the House by a vote of 418-0.
Celebrated our historical diversity. Congressman Forbes supported a resolution (H.Con.Res 242) recognizing the contributions of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) on the Association’s 101st anniversary. This resolution passed the House by a vote of 421-0.
Preserved the history of the American Jewish experience. Congressman Forbes supported a resolution (H.Res.1381) recognizing the National Museum of American Jewish History as the only museum uniquely devoted to American Jewish history. This bill passed the House by a voice vote.
Recognized the vital role of our foster care system. Congressman Forbes supported a resolution (H.Res.1339) that establishes May as National Foster Care Month and recognizes the work of those who are caring for children in our child welfare system. This resolution passed the House by a voice vote.
Supported efforts to find missing children. Congressman Forbes supported legislation (H.Res.1325) recognizing National Missing Children’s Day. The resolution seeks to raise public awareness and recognize the crucial role of law enforcement in reuniting children with their families. This resolution passed the House by a vote of 410-0.
Reaffirming Our National Motto. Congressman Forbes introduced H.Con.Res.274, a bipartisan resolution reaffirming ‘In God We Trust’ as the national motto and supporting and encouraging the public display of the national motto in all public buildings, public schools, and other government institutions.
Observed the National Day of Prayer. Congressman Forbes, Founder and Chairman of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, attended the 59th Annual National Day of Prayer service on Capitol Hill.
Opposed funding for abortion in new healthcare law. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Protect Life Act, (H.R.5111), which amends the new healthcare law to prevent federal funding for abortion, protects the right of conscience for healthcare professionals, and ensures that private insurance companies are not forced to cover abortion.
Called for parental notification prior to having an abortion. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Parental Notification and Intervention Act, (H.R.2061), which requires that parents be notified at least four days in advance of any abortion to be performed on their minor daughter and provides them recourse to stop an abortion from being performed.
Supported assistance for adoptive parents. Congressman Forbes cosponsored the Adoption Tax Relief Guarantee Act, (H.R.213), which would make the $10,000 child adoption tax credit permanent. The credit is scheduled to expire this year.
Advocated religious freedom. Congressman Forbes joined the International Religious Freedom Caucus, which was founded in 2006 to ensure that the promotion and protection of religious freedom for all people remains a priority of U.S. foreign policy.
Defending the National Day of Prayer. On April 21st, Congressman Forbes joined 30 Members of Congress and faith leaders representing millions of Americans in a bipartisan press conference to respond to a recent federal judge's decision that the National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional and to call on the White House to appeal the decision. The day after the press conference, the Department of Justice announced it would appeal the judge’s ruling. Congressman Forbes also cosponsored of two resolutions affirming the constitutionality of the National Day of Prayer, H.Res.1273 and H.Res.1279. Watch footage of the press conference here.
Supported religious liberty. On April 13th, Congressman Forbes delivered the keynote address at the annual Religious Liberty Dinner in Washington, D.C. As Founder and Co-Chairman of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, Congressman Forbes spoke about the need to allow religion, faith, and morality into the marketplace of ideas. The dinner was attended by foreign diplomats, Members of Congress, representatives from the U.S. Department of Justice and the Department of State, and representatives from human rights organizations.
Opposed federal funding of abortion. Congressman Forbes supported a Motion to Recommit, which would have required an amendment prohibiting federal funding of abortion to be added to the healthcare reconciliation bill. This Stupak/Pitts amendment originally passed the House in November by a vote of 240-194. This motion to recommit failed by a vote of 199-232.
Supported National Women’s History Month. Congressman Forbes supported a resolution (H.Res.1174) to recognize and celebrate women’s historic achievements throughout our nation’s history during. March is National Women's History Month. This resolution passed the House by a vote of 420-0.
Supported the right of DC voters to hold a referendum on marriage. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.R. 4430 to protect the democratic process and the right of the people of the District of Columbia to hold a referendum on the definition of marriage.
Honored Martin Luther King, Jr. Congressman Forbes spoke at the 2010 Chesapeake Martin Luther King Leadership Breakfast, where the theme was “Preserving Leadership.” Congressman Forbes spoke about the Congressional Prayer Caucus, of which he is the founder and chairman, and the need to pray for and sustain our leaders.
Supported efforts to eradicate poverty in the United States. Congressman Forbes voted for H.Res.1024, to recognize those individuals and organizations that provide essential services to those in need and to designate January 2010 as Poverty in America Awareness Month. This legislation passed by a vote of 387-18.
Protected the symbols and traditions of Christmas. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.Res.951, to protect the symbols and traditions of Christmas. Towns and cities across the country are being threatened with lawsuits for displaying nativity scenes, holding Christmas parades, and using the word Christmas on signs and billboards.
Defended the national motto and Pledge in Capitol Visitor Center. Congressman Forbes, along with 43 other Members of the United States Senate and House of Representatives, signed an amicus curiae brief in the case of Freedom From Religion Foundation, et al. v. Ayers. This case involves an attempt to remove the national motto, “In God We Trust,” and the Pledge of Allegiance from the Capitol Visitor Center.
Supported effective youth runaway prevention programs. Congressman Forbes voted for H.Res. 779, to support the goals and ideals of National Runaway Prevention Month. The bill passed by a vote of 341-0.
Honored the Gettysburg Address. Congressman Forbes voted for H.Res. 736, honoring the 200th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln and recognizing November 19th as "Dedication Day" in honor of the Gettysburg Address. This resolution passed by a vote of 393-0.
Recognized the importance of a stable family life. Congressman Forbes supported H.Res.831, which recognizes that every child in foster care deserves a permanent and loving family. This legislation passed by voice vote.
Honored the achievements of the Girl Scouts. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.R. 621, which directs the Treasury to mint 350,000 $1 coins to recognize 100 years of achievement and contributions from the Girl Scouts.
Attended the Supreme Court arguments in Salazar v. Buono. The case involves a cross that has served as a WWI Veterans Memorial in the Mojave Desert since 1934, which lower federal courts have held is unconstitutional. This case will set important precedent for future Establishment Clause cases. Congressman Forbes is represented as amici in this case.
Applauded the unveiling of our national motto, ‘In God We Trust,’ in the Capitol Visitor Center. For over a year, Congressman Forbes and Members of the Congressional Prayer Caucus have fought for the inclusion of historical references to America’s religious heritage in the Capitol Visitor Center.
Spoke on the House floor in opposition to hate crimes in defense bill. Congressman Forbes led a Motion to Instruct Conferees to reject a hate crimes amendment attached to the Defense Authorization bill and discussed the impact such an amendment would have on religious speech. The Motion to Instruct was defeated by a vote of 178-234.
Defended the Pledge of Allegiance. Congressman Forbes was represented as amicus curiae in a recent decision in a federal court holding that the words “One nation, under God” in The Pledge of Allegiance do not violate the Establishment Clause.
Called for a clear vote on government funding for abortions. Congressman Forbes joined 182 Members of Congress in sending a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Rules Committee Chairwoman Louise Slaughter requesting that Members of the House be permitted to take an up or down vote on an amendment to prohibit government funding of abortion.
Endorsed the rights of parents to educate their children. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.J. Res. 42, which proposes an amendment to the Unites States Constitution to declare that parents have a fundamental right to direct the education and upbringing of their children.
Called for prohibiting federal funds for abortions. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.R.1233, which would prohibit federal funds from being used for population control or family planning programs that some taxpayers might find objectionable.
Honored the contributions of Catholic sisters. Congressman Forbes voted for H.Res. 441, a resolution honoring the historic contributions of Catholic sisters in the United States. Catholic nuns have been in America since before the nation’s founding and have been a strong force in providing health care and education throughout U.S. history. The resolution passed the House unanimously.
Supported families’ efforts to adopt children overseas. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.R. 3110, to reduce bureaucratic red tape surrounding international adoptions and increase protections for families seeking to adopt children from other countries.
Supporting Americans' Right to Pray. Congressman Forbes joined with 60 Members of Congress in signing a letter of support for a principal and athletic director in the Santa Rosa County School District in Florida. The two men faced criminal contempt charges for asking for a prayer before a meal at an event honoring private donors to the athletic program. Congressman Forbes also gave a speech on the House Floor to discuss the criminalization of prayer in America. The men were found not guilty on Thursday.
Commemorated the bicentennial of the Star-Spangled Banner. Congressman Forbes voted for H.R. 2097, the Star-Spangled Banner Commemorative Coin Act, which directs the U.S. Treasury to mint and issue $5 gold coins and $1 silver coins to commemorate the bicentennial of the writing of the Star-Spangled Banner. The Star-Spangled Banner is the national anthem of the United States, and its lyrics were written by Francis Scott Key after the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812. This bill passed the House by a vote of 419-1.
Supported programs to increase hunger awareness and prevention. Congressman Forbes voted for H.Res. 270 to recognize the establishment of Hunters for the Hungry programs across the United States and the contributions of those programs’ efforts to decrease hunger and help feed those in need. The bill passed the House by a vote of 418-1.
Promoted the role of faith in American heritage. Congressman Forbes voted for H.Con.Res. 131 to direct the Architect of the Capitol (AOC) to engrave the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag and the National Motto of "In God We Trust" in the Capitol Visitor Center. The legislation comes in response to a letter Congressman Forbes and 108 Members of Congress sent to the AOC last year requesting the ommissions be corrected. Passage of this resolution marks another important step forward in acknowledging the importance of our nation’s religious heritage and correcting the omission of historical religious content in the Capitol Visitor Center. The bill passed the House by a vote of 410-8.
Named the Distinguished Christian Statesman for 2009. Congressman Forbes was awarded the Distinguished Christian Statesman Award by the D. James Kennedy Center for Christian Statesmanship on Wednesday, June 24. Congressman Forbes has successfully rolled back efforts to remove religious references from flag folding ceremonies and national monuments, worked to protect the right to pray in public places, and introduced H.Res.397, to affirm the 200-plus-year religious history of America and establish “America’s Spiritual Heritage Week.”
Reached 1.5 million viewers with his speech on Judeo-Christian Heritage. Congressman Forbes delivered a speech on our Judeo-Christian heritage in May that has received 1,576,055 views to date on YouTube. The speech came as a response to comments made by the President stating that the United States did not consider itself a Judeo-Christian nation. In the speech, Congressman Forbes affirms the rich religious history of our nation and recognizes its continued importance in American life. Congressman Forbes introduced H.Res.397 to recognize the religious foundations of faith upon which America was built and to support the designation of an "America's Spiritual Heritage Week" every year.
Supported the symbol of the United States Flag and the ideals of Flag Day. Congressman Forbes voted for H.Res.420, to honor the Flag, and recognize June 14, 2009 as Flag Day.
Supported the designation of Boy Scouts of America Day. Congressman Forbes supported H.Res.356, which designates February 8, 2010, as "Boy Scouts of America Day," in celebration of the nation's largest youth scouting organization's 100th anniversary.
Expressed condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims of the ConAgra Foods plant explosion in Garner, North Carolina. Congressman Forbes voted for H.Res.540 to commend the heroic actions of the Garner Police and Fire Departments, the quick response of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and all other first responders, emergency services personnel, and private citizens who responded to the crisis.
Supported families of veterans honoring their loved-ones as they choose. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.R.2586 to ensure families of veterans have the option of having the honor guard perform the 13-fold flag ceremony at veterans’ funerals. The recitations that accompany each of the 13 folds of the flag are used to honor the men and women who sacrificed their lives for our country, but they have been the subject of controversy in the Veterans Affairs Department because the recitation references God.
Raised concerns about new public broadcasting policies against religious content. Congressman Forbes sent a letter to John Porter, Chairman of the Board for the Public Broadcasting Service (“PBS”) raising concerns about the PBS board’s plan to vote on stripping the PBS affiliation from any station that carries “sectarian” content. PBS has already notified the Archdiocese of Washington that it will cancel "Mass for Shut-Ins," a program that has run for nearly 60 years, according to The Washington Post:
Supported the definition of marriage as one man and one women. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.R. 2608, which would define marriage as one man and one woman in the District of Columbia. Earlier this month, the Council of the District of Columbia voted 12-1 to recognize same-sex marriages.
Cosponsored H.J.Res.50, the Marriage Protection Amendment. This resolution would amend the United States Constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman.
Recognized the important contributions of father’s. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.Res. 428, which recognizes the contribution of father’s in the development of their children, supports responsible fatherhood, and encourages greater involvement of fathers in the lives of their children.
Cosponsored H.Con.Res. 121, designating 2010 as The Year of the Bible. The resolution encourages the President to designate 2010 as The Year of the Bible to recognize how the Bible has shaped and influenced America.
Cosponsored H.R. 2458, the Schoolchildren’s Health Protection Act. This bill prohibits federal funds from going to elementary and secondary schools that distribute or provide emergency contraception, such as Plan B, or a prescription for such contraception.
Recognized the religious heritage of the United States. Congressman Forbes introduced H.Res.397, America’s Spiritual Heritage Resolution, which recognizes the rich spiritual and religious history of our nation’s founding and subsequent history. The resolution would also designate the first week in May of every year as America’s Spiritual Heritage Week. Congressman Forbes' delivered remarks on the House Floor about America's spiritual heritage. Click here to watch the speech.
Held a press conference affirming America's rich spiritual heritage. Congressman Forbes was joined on the National Day of Prayer by ten Members of Congress and thirteen faith leaders at a bipartisan press conference to affirm that America was founded on Judeo-Christian principles.
Featured in U.S. News & World Report. Click here to read the editorial by Congressman Forbes.
Supported counseling programs for parents who place a child for adoption. Congressman Forbes cosponsored H.R. 1505, the Birth Parents Assistance Act, to create a grant program for counseling and other post-placement support services for birth parents after they have placed a child up for adoption.
Signed a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder asking him to defend and enforce the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which has been federal law since 1996. DOMA provides that states cannot be forced by residents of another state to recognize same-sex marriage, and that for purposes of federal law, marriage is the union of one man and one woman. On March 3, 2009, Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court in Boston, Massachusetts on behalf of same-sex couples who have been deemed married by the state of Massachusetts. These couples are now seeking federal benefits including pensions, Social Security, and joint tax filing status from the federal government on the basis of those “marriages.” Their claim is that DOMA is unconstitutional because it protects the federal government from having to recognize such unions.
Signed a letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Appropriations Chair David Obey, and Rules Committee Chair Louise Slaughter calling for the retention of pro-life provisions traditionally included in the annual spending bills. These provisions, often referred to as riders, are contained in multiple spending bills and must be retained each year for the policies to remain in place. These provisions address issues such as abortion funding, conscience protection for health care providers, and embryo research. Removing any of these provisions could lead to an erosion of current pro-life law.
Agreed to cosponsor the Defense of Marriage Amendment to amend the United States Constitution to protect the traditional definition of marriage. This proposed amendment would (1) define marriage in the United States as a legal union of one man and one woman; (2) expressly prohibit the judicial power of the United States or of any state from being used to redefine marriage as anything other than a union between one man and one woman; and (3) resolve questions relating to the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act by incorporating language which would prohibit the courts from imposing the policy of one state on other states.
Signed on as an original cosponsor of H.R. 227, the Sanctity of Life Act, in the 111th Congress. This bill would declare that the life of each human begins with fertilization, cloning, or its functional equivalent, at which point every human being shall have all the legal and constitutional rights and privileges of a person.
Supported H.R. 6893, the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act. This bill would double the amount of money that states receive for the completion of certain adoptions, especially for children with special needs, and establish Family Connection Grants to spur placement of foster children with blood relatives such as grandparents, aunts or uncles. The bill would also make older foster children eligible to receive support benefits until age 21, expand programs to bring foster children to and from school, and extend all program benefits to Indian tribes as well as states.
Supported H.Res. 1432, Supporting the goals and ideals of National Adoption Day and National Adoption Month by promoting national awareness of adoption and children in foster care awaiting families, celebrating children and families involved in adoption, recognizing current programs and efforts designed to promote adoption, and encouraging people in the United States to seek improved safety, permanency, and well-being for all children.
Voted in favor of H.Res. 1296, which supports the designation of a National Child Awareness Month to promote awareness of children's charities and youth-serving organizations across the United States and recognizing their efforts on behalf of children and youth as a positive investment for the future of our nation.
Signed onto a letter to the Mayor and City Council President of Philadelphia asking them to reconsider their decision to discriminate against the Boy Scouts for their commitment to traditional moral values. Since 1928, the Cradle of Liberty Council has rented its headquarters from the city for $1 per year. However, the City of Philadelphia made a decision to penalize the Boys Scouts because of its adherence to long-held, mainstream moral beliefs by raising the rent to $200,000 per year after May 31, 2008. Serving 87,000 boys and men, the Cradle of Liberty Council, located in Philadelphia, is the third largest local council in the country. Of the estimated 69,000 youth that participate, many benefit from mentoring and educational services, in addition to the traditional service projects and character building activities. Additionally, seven years ago, the Supreme Court affirmed the Boy Scouts’ right to continue to structure its organization in a way that is consistent with its core values. Just two years ago, Congress passed, with overwhelming support, the Support Our Scouts Act to ensure that state and local government entities do not deny Boy Scouts equal access to public facilities, forums, and programs.
Signed a letter to House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Dingell and Ranking Member Barton in support of Title V Abstinence Education programs. This letter expressed support for reauthorizing and maintaining the integrity of this important program that teaches teens how to make healthy decisions about their future. These programs have been shown to be effective in nearly a dozen different studies. The Title V program provides $50 million annually for abstinence education that is distributed on a formula basis to states, and every four federal dollars must be matched by three state and local dollars. Without Congressional action, Title V is set to expire on June 30, 2008.
Voted in favor of H.Res. 1243, Recognizing the immeasurable contributions of fathers in the healthy development of children, supporting responsible fatherhood, and encouraging greater involvement of fathers in the lives of their children, especially on Father's Day. This resolution commends the millions of fathers who serve as wonderful, caring parents for their children, and calls on fathers across the United States to use Father's Day to reconnect and rededicate themselves to their children's lives, spend Father's Day with their children, and express their love and support for their children. It also urges men to understand the level of responsibility fathering a child requires, especially in the encouragement of children's moral, academic and spiritual development.
Cosponsored the Marriage Protection Amendment, H.J.Res. 89. After the recent California Supreme Court case that overturned the will of the people that marriage be defined between one man and one woman, several Members of Congress, including Congressman Forbes, have re-introduced the Marriage Protection Amendment. This legislation sends a clear message to the court that traditional marriage should be protected.
Supported H.Res. 1185, a resolution expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that Congress should recognize the important contributions of Americans who serve as foster parents and, who by doing so, unselfishly open their homes and family lives to children in need.
Wrote a letter to the Architect of the Capitol requesting information on the display content for the videos and permanent displays in the Capitol Visitors Center (CVC). There are concerns that our country’s religious history will not be represented in the new Capitol Visitors Center as originally agreed upon by several working groups. Previous requests for official documentation of the permanent exhibits and the introductory video to be seen by each visitor at the beginning of Capitol tours have been denied. Under the previous Architect of the Capitol, such documentation was routinely provided. Currently, the CVC has been unable to provide the content of the finalized plan and intends to open in the fall of 2008.
Joined the Congressional Caucus on Religious Minorities in the Middle East, a bipartisan Congressional Member Organization dedicated to raising awareness of the challenges facing religious minorities in Middle Eastern nations. The caucus monitors the conditions that religious minorities face while in the Middle East, U.S. government’s response to the needs of these communities, and changing religious demographics of the region. The caucus also considers how U.S. foreign policy can strengthen the moderating effects of diversity by protecting minorities in the region that are facing discrimination and violence. The Middle East is a place of great religious diversity, but over the last several decades, many religious populations, particularly Christian, have left the region due to violence and increasing tensions between different religious demographics.
Wrote a letter to the Chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee supporting H.Res. 888, the Religious Heritage Resolution. H. Res. 888 recognizes some of the many examples of how religious faith has influenced America’s founding and subsequent history, and would establish the first week of May as America’s Religious History Week to commemorate this aspect of our nation’s heritage. Chairman Henry Waxman has so far refused to place H.Res. 888 on the committee’s schedule for consideration because of its religious content.
Joined 38 other Members of Congress in introducing H.Res. 1076, a resolution supporting the right of parents to homeschool their children. This resolution was introduced in response to a recent California Appeals Court ruling denying parents the fundamental right to educate their children at home. H.Res. 1076 commends the Court for allowing a rehearing in this matter and calls upon the court to uphold the United States Supreme Court’s opinion that parents have a fundamental and constitutional right to direct the upbringing and education of their children.
Spoke to members of the Values Action Team about H.Res. 888, the Religious Heritage Resolution. Rep. Forbes spoke to advocacy groups in attendance about the importance of honoring our nation’s vibrant religious heritage, and encouraged them to ask Members of Congress to sign on as cosponsors. H.Res. 888 is a resolution that honors America’s religious and spiritual heritage and designates the first week of May as American Religious History Week. The Values Action Team was established in 1998 to provide a discussion and dialogue forum for Members of Congress and organizations concerned about family and social issues in the United States.
Cosponsored H.R. 4852, the Positive Alternatives Act, which would ensure that states have the flexibility to use their TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) block grant dollars to offer alternative-to-abortion services to women who are pregnant or think they may be pregnant. This includes information or counseling that promotes childbirth instead of abortion and assists pregnant women in making informed decisions about parenting or adoption.
Introduced H. Res 888, a Resolution affirming the rich spiritual and religious history of our Nation’s founding and subsequent history. This resolution examines the religious history of our nation and how religion is reflected in our nation’s documents, events throughout our nation’s history, and places throughout our nation’s capitol, such as the Washington Monument, the Library of Congress, and the United States Capitol Building. H. Res 888 also designates the first week in May of every year as American Religious History Week for the appreciation of and education about America’s history of religious faith. To view a version of H.Res.888 with sources for historical references listed throughout, click here.
Signed a letter to President Bush supporting Abstinence Education funding. The letter asked the President to insist that Congress maintain his requested funding levels for abstinence education programs in the Labor-HHS appropriations bill.
Voted in favor of H.Res. 847, which recognizes the importance of Christmas and the Christian Faith. This resolution would recognize the Christian faith as one of the great religions of the world, express continued support for Christians in the United States and worldwide and acknowledge the international religious and historical importance of Christmas and the Christian faith. The resolution would also acknowledge and support the role played by Christians and Christianity in the founding of the United States and in the formation of the western civilization, reject bigotry and persecution directed against Christians, both in the United States and worldwide, and express the deepest respect of the House of Representatives to American Christians and Christians throughout the world.
Cosponsored H.Res. 847, which would recognize the importance of Christmas and the Christian faith. This bill would recognize the Christian faith as one of the great religions of the world, express continued support for Christians in the United States and worldwide, and acknowledge the international religious and historical importance of Christmas and the Christian faith. The resolution would also acknowledge and support the role played by Christians and Christianity in the founding of the United States and in the formation of the western civilization, reject bigotry and persecution directed against Christians, both in the United States and worldwide, and express deep respect to American Christians and Christians throughout the world.
Authored a letter defending America’s religious and spiritual heritage to the Director of the National Park Service, Mary Bomar, demanding that the replica of the top of the Washington Monument be properly displayed so that the inscription Laus Deo, which means “Praise be to God,” is fully visible. Additionally, the letter asked that all educational materials and signage accurately reflect America’s religious and spiritual heritage. The letter was sent with the signatures of 18 Members of Congress following reports that the display had been changed to remove any mention of the inscription, and the replica had been placed facing a wall so that it was hidden from view. Shortly after the letter was sent, NPS issued a statement acknowledging the oversight and committing to redesign the display so that the Laus Deo inscription could be seen.
Cosponsored H.R. 3908, the Loyalty to Our Legacy Act of 2007, which would ensure that the new Capitol Visitor Center will preserve America’s religious heritage by requiring that the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag and the national motto `In God We Trust' are each displayed prominently there on a permanent basis. This bill would also ensure that in preparing and producing any exhibit or other material relating to the Capitol Visitor Center, the Architect of the Capitol may not remove or refuse to include any language, symbol, writing, document, or record on the grounds that the language, symbol, writing, document, or record includes a religious reference or Judeo-Christian content.
Voted to uphold the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman by opposing H.R. 3685, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). H.R. 3685 would prohibit employers from discriminating against employees based on “actual or perceived” sexual orientation. Congressman Forbes offered a motion that would have preserved the traditional definition of marriage as between one man and one woman, by ensuring that nothing in the Act could be construed to modify, limit, restrict, or in any way overturn any State or Federal definition of marriage as between one man and one woman, including the use of the Act as a legal predicate in litigation on the issue of marriage. Specifically, this would have prevented courts from citing ENDA as justification for striking down so-called “discriminatory” marriage laws in the 49 of 50 states that currently restrict marriage to between one man and one woman. The motion failed and Congressman Forbes voted against final passage of H.R. 3685.
Signed on as an original cosponsor of H.R. 4157, the Sanctity of Life Act, which would declare that the life of each human begins with fertilization, cloning, or its functional equivalent, at which point every human being shall have all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood.
Cosponsored H.Con.Res. 239, which recognizes and honors birthparents who carry out an adoption plan. This legislation states that birthparents should be recognized, honored, and commended for making a loving decision to carry out an adoption plan, recognizes adoption as a loving, viable option in the event of an unplanned pregnancy. November is National Adoption Month.
Introduced H.R. 3779, the Andrew Larochelle God, Family and Country Act of 2007, along with Reps. Mike Turner (OH-03), Marilyn Musgrave (CO-04), Steve Pearce (NM-02), and Steve King (IA-05), which would require the Architect of the Capitol to permit the acknowledgment of God on flag certificates that are issued at the request of a Member of the United States House of Representatives or of the United States Senate. In recent months, the Architect of the Capitol had censored the word “God” and other religious expressions from several requests for flag certificates, stating that the use of the word “God” violated the Architect’s rules prohibiting religious references on flag certificates. In response, Congressman Forbes joined with over 160 other Members of Congress in signing a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi requesting an immediate review of the authority under which the Architect was making these rules, and seeking the reversal of this policy which censored citizens’ right to free expression of their faith. As a result of this action, the Architect of the Capitol announced new guidelines that would not restrict religious expression on flag certificates. H.R. 3779 will permanently protect Americans’ freedom of religious expression and ensure that future Architects of the Capitol will not be able to change the policy arbitrarily.
Spoke before the Values Action Team about H.R. 2807, the Patients First Act, which Congressman Forbes introduced. The Patients First Act promotes research using stem cells that are ethically obtained and show evidence of providing near-term clinical benefit for human patients without the creation or destruction of human embryos. The bill puts the priority for funding on treating patients using successful stem cell therapies, and will intensify research that may result in treatments for numerous diseases and other adverse health conditions. The Values Action Team was established in 1998 to connect conservative Members of Congress with pro-family coalitions.
Supported H.R. 3668, the Transitional Medical Assistance, Abstinence Education, and Qualifying Individuals Programs Extension Act of 2007. This bill extends funding through December 31, 2007 for abstinence education programs and provides for the extension of transitional medical assistance, which provides temporary health care coverage to families that have become ineligible for Medicaid because of increased earnings - often triggered by leaving welfare for work. The bill also extends funding for the qualifying individuals program.
Introduced H.R. 2807, the Patients First Act. The Patients First Act bridges the political divide over embryonic stem cell research and focuses on the common goal shared by both sides of the embryonic stem cell debate - curing and treating patients. The purpose of H.R. 2807 is to:
· intensify research that may result in an improved understanding of, or treatments for, diseases and other adverse health conditions;
· promote research and human clinical trials using stem cells that are ethically obtained and show evidence of providing clinical benefit for human patients; and
· promote the creation of pluripotent stem cell lines without the creation of human embryos, or the destruction or discarding of, or risk of injury to, human embryos.
Joined 176 Members of Congress in opposing S. 5, the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007, which would allow federal funding for research that utilizes viable human embryonic stem cells. Federal funding for such research is currently prohibited under federal law. Congressman Forbes supports federal funding for meaningful research using ethically-obtained stem cell lines but does not support the destruction of human life for the purposes of medical research.
Cosponsored H.R. 2104, the Public Prayer Protection Act, which seeks to protect the right of elected and appointed officials to express their religious beliefs through public prayer by removing all establishment clause cases involving prayer by public officials from federal court jurisdiction to the jurisdiction of state courts.
Signed a letter with other Members of Congress encouraging continued funding of Title V abstinence education programs, and cosponsored legislation to tie Title V abstinence education funding with Transitional Medical Assistance (TMA) in order to increase the chances that abstinence education would be funded. Current Congressional leadership has announced plans to discontinue funding abstinence education programs under Title V. In the past, Title V and TMA have been reauthorized together. Abstinence education programs have proven effective in teaching teenagers to stay healthy, develop strong self-esteem, and making a positive impact on their future.
Supported H.Res. 263, recognizing National Foster Care Month as an opportunity for Congress to improve the foster care system throughout the United States. Approximately half a million children in this country are in foster care.
Voted in favor of H. Res. 385, which would recognize National AmeriCorps Week, May 13-20, 2007. This resolution encourages all citizens to join in a national effort to salute AmeriCorps members and alumni, acknowledge the significant accomplishments these corps members, alumni and community partners make, and encourage citizens of all ages to participate in service opportunities. AmeriCorps is a network of local, state, and national service programs that connects more than 70,000 Americans each year through service to meet critical needs in education, public safety, health, and the environment.
Signed a letter to Chairman Jerrold Nadler, of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, to request the subcommittee to hold a hearing on the Right to Life Act, H.R. 618, which declares that the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution is vested in each human being, defining "human being" to mean all stages of life, including but not limited to the moment of fertilization or cloning. The hearing would be the first step on the issue in the 110th Congress.
Authored a letter, signed by 19 Members of Congress, to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education to ask their support for full funding of abstinence education programs in the federal budget for Fiscal Year 2008. Abstinence education programs have proven effective in teaching teenagers to stay healthy, develop strong self-esteem, and making a positive impact on their future.
Announced the formation of a "Call to Prayer for America." Congressman Forbes, Chairman of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, was joined by over 35 other Members of Congress from 21 states for a bi-partisan press conference on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. Members officially gathered to recognize the significant role that prayer has played in the history of our nation and to encourage individuals to pray for America.
Cosponsored H.R. 1457, the Post-Abortion Depression Research and Care Act of 2007. This legislation would provide for research and services for individuals with post-abortion depression and psychosis, including case management, screening and comprehensive treatment services for women at risk for post-abortion conditions, and also support services for their families. This purpose of this legislation is to gain a better understanding on how abortion affects women and families.
Cosponsored the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act. This legislation would require those who perform abortions on unborn children as early as 20 weeks to inform the mother that, at that stage, their baby has the ability to feel pain, to cry, to breathe and to survive outside of the womb. It would also provide the mother with the option of having pain-reducing drugs administered directly to the child.
Cosponsored H.R. 628, the Helping Families Adopt Orphans Act, legislation to aid families adopting orphans from foreign countries. Because of the wait time between an application approval and receiving a child, many families' applications expire, requiring them to repeat the expensive and time-consuming application process. The entire process of international adoption can cost thousands of dollars.
Cosponsored H. Res. 179, a resolution supporting National Foster Parents Day, to recognize the contributions of foster parents across the nation. Foster parents, who open their homes and hearts to children, play a vital role in helping children launch into successful adulthood. Approximately half a million children in this country are in foster care.
Signed onto H.Con.Res. 62, supporting the goals and ideals of a National Children and Families Day, a day to encourage adults in their support of children.
Cosponsored the Public Expressions of Religion Protection Act of 2007, H.R. 725. This legislation would bar judges from awarding legal fees to groups that sue municipalities for violating the Constitution's ban on government establishment of religion. Because judges often require municipalities that lose these types of lawsuits to reimburse their opponents' legal fees, citizens end up paying these bills with their own tax dollars. This legislation passed the House in the 109th Congress but failed to pass the Senate.
Sent a letter to other Members of Congress urging their support for the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act when it is introduced in the 110th Congress. In October of 2006, baby Amilla Taylor was born at 21 weeks and 6 days, becoming the youngest documented premature infant to survive. This bill would require those who perform abortions on unborn children at 20 weeks to inform the mother that, at that stage, their baby has the ability to feel pain, to cry, to breathe and to survive outside of the womb.
Cosponsored Holly's Law, H.R. 63, legislation that would ask for the withdrawal of the approved application of the Federal Drug Administration for the drug RU-486, dubbed "the morning-after pill," which is used for the chemically-induced termination of pregnancy. The FDA has acknowledged the deaths of eight women associated with the drug.
Cosponsored the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act, which would amend the federal criminal code to prohibit transporting a minor across a state lines to obtain an abortion and avoid the home state's abortion laws.
Cosponsored The Adoption Tax Relief Guarantee Act of 2007, H.R. 471, which would make permanent a $10,000 child adoption tax credit that is set to expire in 2010. H.R. 471 would ensure a tax relief for parents who are making the important commitment to adopt a child. Congressman Forbes has been an advocate of similar legislation to promote adoption, such as the Helping Families Adopt Orphans Act.
Worked to continue and expand the Congressional Prayer Caucus (CPC) in the 110th Congress. Throughout the more than 200-year history of our nation, prayer has played a vital role in strengthening the fabric of our society. The purpose of the CPC is to recognize and protect the vital role that prayer by individuals of all faiths has played in the lives of the American people and the nation.
Cosponsored the Marriage Protection Act to stand up for traditional marriage values and protect traditional marriage from being subject to activist court decisions.
Cosponsored the Right to Life Act, which declares that the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution is vested in each human being, defining "human being" to mean all stages of life, including but not limited to the moment of fertilization or cloning. It is the duty of all Americans to protect our children - born and unborn. This bill would provide protection to all unborn children from the moment of conception.
Voted against HR 3, the The Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, which prevents the use of federal tax-payer dollars for funding incentives for embryo destruction at in vitro fertilization clinics. Congressman Forbes supports other methods of encouraging alternative stem cell research that does not include the unethical destruction of embryos. He also supports funding new scientific research methods that do not cross ethical boundaries and destroy life.