January 11,2021

Wyden Statement on Final HHS Rule to Allow Sweeping Taxpayer-funded Discrimination Nationwide

Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today released the following statement on a final rule issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) allowing its grantees to deny services – including foster care and adoption, youth homelessness, pre-K programs, public health programs and more – on the basis of religion, sexual orientation, gender identity and marital status:

“From day one, the Trump administration has been determined to roll back essential protections for LGBTQ+ Americans, religious minorities, and other vulnerable communities. It's no surprise that in its last days the Trump administration has delivered a devastating blow to try and permanently green light taxpayer-funded discrimination and put the health and wellbeing of children and families across the nation at grave risk. 

“Developed under the guise of religious liberty, this rule is a full attack on religious freedom and would allow faith-based providers to turn eligible individuals away from essential services solely because of their religious beliefs or identities. Homeless youth could be denied housing, children could lose access to early education, and LGBTQ+ couples could be denied the chance to foster and adopt. I am committed to working with the Biden administration to reverse this discriminatory rule and restore humanity to HHS by once again ensuring equal access to all programs and services the Department funds and children and families deserve.”