Tags: Trump Administration | Donald Trump | Religion | Steve Russell | religious | freedom | transition

Rep. Russell: 'Positive Signals' From Trump on Religious Freedom

Image: Rep. Russell: 'Positive Signals' From Trump on Religious Freedom

Rep. Steve Russell, R-Okla. (AP Photo)

By    |   Wednesday, 07 Dec 2016 04:21 PM

Rep. Steve Russell, R-Okla., said president-elect Donald Trump's White House transition team has given him "very good assurances" his administration will address the religious freedom amendment removed from the defense-spending bill passed Friday.

"These issues will be resolved, and we have gotten some very good assurances moving forward," Russell said at the Capitol, according to BuzzFeed News, implying Trump might exercise his executive power without waiting for Congress. "I am certainly encouraged by the signs that I am getting from the administration that is inbound."

The Russell Amendment, as it became called, would have exempted federal contractors from Executive Order 13672 passed by President Barack Obama, which prohibited the firing of federal employees on the basis of their sexual orientation or identity, according to Salon.

Russell said he has "gotten very positive signals" Trump would act if the amendment was blocked, but said he would not "talk strategy or predispose what the executive branch may do."

"The vagueness was created by the executive branch, so the executive branch [under Trump] could uncreate the vagueness," he said in an interview with Buzzfeed. "You reverse it by clarifying a bad executive order with a good one."

The ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., was one of four legislators on a conference committee that removed Russell's amendment from the bill.

"The were confident they would have a better environment for a variety of different issues in the new administration," he told BuzzFeed News. "It worries me a great deal."

Rep. John McCain, R-Ariz., also sat on the conference committee, and although he did not necessarily oppose the amendment, he saw a future opening.

"As a general outlook, I think those religious-based organizations should be allowed to make decisions that are in keeping with their religious beliefs," the former GOP presidential candidate told BuzzFeed News.

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Rep. Steve Russell, R-Okla., said president-elect Donald Trump's White House transition team has given him "very good assurances" his administration will address the religious freedom amendment removed from the defense-spending bill passed Friday.
Steve Russell, religious, freedom, transition
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2016-21-07
Wednesday, 07 Dec 2016 04:21 PM
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