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Capito talks abortion legislation, immigration, VA hospitals and more with West Virginia press

MORGANTOWN – Sen. Shelley Moore Capito talked with West Virginia reporters on Thursday about abortion legislation, immigration and other topics.

Capito and Sen. Joe Manchin both voted against advancing the Women’s Health Protection Act for consideration. A similar bill passed the Democrat-led House last year but died in the Senate.

The vote was 49-51 and 60 yes votes were required. Manchin, the only Senate Democrat voting against cloture – limiting debate in order to overcome the filibuster – told the media the bill went too far beyond merely codifying Roe v Wade.

Capito agreed, saying on Thursday, “Sen. Schumer brought up, really, a pretty radical bill.”

The bill essentially overrode all state laws, Capito and others said. Among the provisions she and Manchin objected to were allowing abortion on demand at any point up to birth, voiding parental consent laws; voiding a provider’s religious or conscientious objection to providing an abortion via the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act and allowing taxpayer funding of abortions.

“It did things, really, way beyond what Roe v Wade would be,” she said. “It failed as predicted.”

Regarding the predicted failure, she didn’t say what others have – the the move was intended to give Democrats a talking point as support for the Biden administration continues downward and many expect Congress to change hands after the election.

The move was a response to the leaked U.S. Supreme Court decision and Capito says she favors waiting until the official opinion is issued. The decision is expected to put abortion law back in the hands of the states. “Our states will have plenty of time to deal with this issue.”

Capito was asked if she would support a more scaled back GOP bill – by Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski – that would simply codify Roe v. Wade, and what prompts her views on the issue.

On the bill, Capito said she’ll reserve judgment until she sees it. “I do believe the states are well equipped in the democratic process to deal with this very, very sensitive issue.

On the other topic, she said her views stem from her experiences as a mother and grandmother and advances in medicine and technology that have changed the nature of fetal viability in the past 25 and 50 years.

Also, there are all kinds of nuances to be considered: partial birth, parental discretion and fetal pain among them. “The sensitivities to this issue need to be presented by a woman’s frame of reference.”


On the topic of illegal immigration, The Dominion Post mentioned the multistate lawsuit that West Virginia has joined challenging the legality of the Biden administration plan to use asylum officers to process asylum claims, instead of immigration judges who are supposed to do it.

We asked if she would join with other lawmakers on an amicus brief supporting the suit, as she has with other cases. Capito expressed agreement with the essence of the suit without actually answering the question.

If all the asylum officers are doing is moving cases along faster so the illegal immigrants can stay in the country longer, “ I’m not interested in that,” she said.

Judges find less than 30%of asylum claims legitimate; so if cases move quicker, those with illegitimate claims could be sent back quicker. But if an asylum office offers a negative decision, it will be apealed to a judge anyway and nothing is solved.

AIR Commission

On Tuesday, Capito, Manchin and the three members of the House joined to call on President Biden to reject the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs recommendations to the Asset and Infrastructure Review (AIR) Commission, which includes significant reductions in services at three of the four VA Medical Centers in West Virginia – and would essentially turn those three hospitals into urgent cares.

Capito said she’s talked to veterans about this and, “I think the uproar from our veterans community … was very distinct to me.” The VA seems aimed at shifting the care to the private sector without bothering to find out if veterans prefer their VA care – which they do – or if he private sector can handle the influx, which many said they can’t.

She said she’s joined with Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., on a bill to negate the AIR Commission process the VA has sent in motion.

Broadband bills

Capito also mentioned two of her bills that the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation advanced this week

One is the Network Equipment Transparency Act that would require the FCC’s Annual Broadband Deployment Report to describe to Congress the impact of supply chain disruptions on the deployment of broadband service. This is important, she said, as inflation and supply chain issues could adversely impact broadband rollout.

The other is the Funding Affordable Internet with Reliable Contributions Act, which would direct the FCC to conduct a study into the feasibility of collecting Universal Service Fund contributions from internet edge providers such as YouTube, Netflix, and Google.

She explained her thoughts on that in a Thursday press release.

“As we all know, building out our internet infrastructure is expensive, especially in hard-to-serve areas like West Virginia,” she said. “For some time now, Big Tech has profited off of the critical infrastructure used for common day-to-day activities while not helping at a sufficient level to improve those capabilities with broadband investment in states like West Virginia.”

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