The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held a hearing today on why the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) was denied a grant it typically receives from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to combat human trafficking.

The USCCB grant proposal was awarded a score of 89, yet it was denied the grant. Two other organizations, with scores of 74 and 69, were given a grant. The hearing sought to determine whether the USCCB’s opposition to abortion referral killed its chances.

In his opening statement, George Sheldon, Acting Assistant HHS secretary for the Administration for Children and Families, said that “HHS did not establish a preference for grantees that would require each individual subgrantees to provide referrals for family planning and the full range of legally permissible gynecological and obstetric care.”

The following exchange between Sheldon and Rep. Trey Gowdy calls into question Sheldon’s veracity:

Rep. Trey Gowdy: “The truth be told, if the Catholic bishops had scored a 100, you still wouldn’t have picked them.”

George Sheldon: “That’s not necessarily accurate.”

Gowdy: “Well, would you have—if they scored a 100? Is an 89 not enough?”

Sheldon: “Well, I’m dealing with the facts in front of me.”

Gowdy: “Assume this fact then: If they scored a 95, would that have been high enough?”

Sheldon: “I cannot without looking at the facts, the other applicants—I cannot respond to….”

Bill Donohue says, “Anyone who can’t figure out what is going on with the Obama administration is either hopelessly partisan or in sheer denial.”

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