A group of 30 United States senators, including Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), are taking issue with Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra’s decision to rescind waivers from faith-based adoption and foster care agencies.
On November 18, Becerra and the HHS announced that the department would return to “case-by-case evaluation of requests for religious exemptions, waiver, and modifications of program requirements across its components.”
The decision resulted in the rescission of previously issued waivers to faith-based adoption and foster care agencies in Michigan, South Carolina, and Texas.
“As you know, rescinding the waivers puts providers in these states in the untenable position of choosing between serving children under the Title IV-E foster care program or operating in accordance with the tenets of their faith – the same faith that drives them to serve children in the first place. HHS should be welcoming child welfare providers, not excluding them. Children are too important to be pawns in political games,” the 30 senators wrote in a joint letter sent to Becerra on Thursday.
Becerra believes the waivers allowed agencies to discriminate against other religions, sexuality, and gender identity.
“[This] action supports the bedrock American principle and core mission of our Department – to ensure Americans have access to quality health and human services,” the former California attorney general said. “Our action ensures we are best prepared to protect every American’s right to be free of discrimination.”
The full letter from the senators to Becerra can be read here.