Senator Ben Sasse (R., Neb.) criticized California attorney general Xavier Becerra’s comments on his suit involving a group of Catholic nuns, during a Senate confirmation hearing on Wednesday.
Becerra sued the federal government in 2017 to reimpose an Obamacare mandate ordering insurance providers to make contraceptives available. The Little Sisters of the Poor, a non-profit religious organization of Catholic nuns, fought the suit in court because of their objection to the contraception mandate. As a result, the State of California ended up suing the Little Sisters of the Poor, in an ongoing case currently under review in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Earlier in the hearing on Wednesday, Becerra claimed that he “never sued any nuns” during his tenure as attorney general.
“You actually sued the federal government who had given an exemption to the nuns. Can you explain what the Little Sisters of the Poor were doing wrong?” Sasse asked Becerra on Wednesday.
“Our problem was that the federal government was not abiding by the law as we saw it…and we took action…so that California could administer its programs to make sure that the Affordable Care Act continued to work,” Becerra said.
Sasse called the response a “complete nonsense answer.”
“What you’re saying isn’t true,” Sasse said. “You say you didn’t sue the nuns, you sued the federal government that was keeping you from making sure that the nuns had to buy contraceptive insurance. Were the nuns going to get pregnant?”
Becerra responded, “The federal government took actions and changed the way we would administer the programs that we had under the Affordable Care Act. Our actions related to how providers are providing services to the people of California.”