February 12,2021

Press Contact:

Nicole L'Esperance (202) 224-4515

Wyden, Neal Applaud Biden Administration’s Agreement to Halt Discriminatory HHS Rule Change

WASHINGTON, DC— Today, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) praised the Biden Administration’s agreement to delay the effective date of a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regulation finalized by the Trump Administration, which would have allowed states and other recipients of HHS grant funding to discriminate against individuals based on faith, who they are, or who they love. The rule—which was first proposed in late 2019 and finalized in a last-ditch effort by the Trump Administration last month—would have eliminated essential protections preventing foster care, adoption agencies and other federal grantees from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, and other characteristics when providing HHS grant-funded services.  

“We commend the Biden Administration’s swift action in delaying this harmful move by the former administration and showing the country that discriminatory policies have no place in America,” said Chairman Neal and Chairman Wyden. “This is an important first step in undoing a series of rules that would sanction taxpayer-funded discrimination against our most vulnerable neighbors. Moving forward, it is our hope that the rule and other discriminatory actions by the Trump Administration will be permanently reversed, ensuring that all Americans—regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or religion—receive equal treatment under the law.” 

Chairmen Neal and Wyden have repeatedly spoken out against this policy, and wrote letters to Acting HHS Secretary Norris Cochran last month emphasizing their opposition to these Trump-era policies. Chairman Neal’s full letter is available here and Chairman Wyden’s here.