Congress Faces Tough Issues After Recess

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CBNNews.com - Members of Congress are returning from their Easter recess to tackle several controversial issues this week-- including one that has many Christians concerned.

Legislation designed to protect crime victims targeted because of their sexual orientation is expected to advance in the House this week.

It is the same hate crimes legislation that passed in 2007 and was vetoed by former President George W. Bush.

Christians now fear the legislation will receive a much warmer reception when it reaches President Obama's desk.

A Threat to Christians?

The bill is expected to sail through the House Judiciary Committee and be considered by the full House later this spring.

Congressman Barney Frank-- who is an openly gay representative--chairs the committee.

"The absence of protection for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people is particularly egregious," he charged. "This bill remedies that gap in a responsible way, fully respectful of constitutional rights and I look forward to it being passed and signed by a president who is committed to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity."

The legislation applies to violent crimes and allows state and local governments prosecuting so-called hate crimes to request money and resources from the fed.

Critics fear it will be used to prosecute and jail Christians preaching their biblically held beliefs against homosexuality - something that's happened in other countries with similar laws.

Sebelius Controversy Remains

Meanwhile, a Senate committee is expected to vote on Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' confirmation for Health and Human Services secretary Tuesday.

Sebelus faces new criticism after an investigation revealed she'd received more than $10,000 more than she disclosed from controversial late-term abortion doctor George Tiller.

Despite that and cries by some lawmakers over Sebelieus' abortion record she is expected to be confirmed.

The administration wants her in place quickly to start working on the president's health care reform.

Former Sen. Tom Daschle withdrew from the same position amid tax problems.

Check Card, Fairness Doctrine Debates

While lawmakers were back in their districts for the recess trying to gauge public opinion on the check card issue, labor unions were rolling out a national ad campaign.

However, they have some time to make up their minds because a hearing for this hasn't been set yet in the labor committee.

The legislation that would ban a return of the Fairness Doctrine was passed in the Senate, but has not yet made it to the House committee-- meaning lawmakers won't see action on that legislation this week.

One thing lawmakers must do however, is finalize the president's $3.5 trillion spending plan for 2010. More is expected on that in coming days.

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Jennifer Wishon

Jennifer Wishon

CBN News Washington Correspondent

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