- Senate Republicans on Thursday called for the chamber to end its contractual relationship with Citi, expressing “deep concern” over the bank’s March announcement that it will cover travel expenses for employees seeking abortions.
- In a letter addressed to Karen Gibson, the Senate’s sergeant-at-arms, 10 Republican senators referred to the New York City-based bank’s policy as “abortion tourism,” which they said enables employees living in states with abortion restrictions to circumvent state laws.
- The letter comes as House Republicans, also responding to Citi’s policy, made similar demands last month.
“Consistent with nearly five decades of Federal policy against using taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions, taxpayer dollars used by the U.S. Senate should not be administered through a company that facilitates abortion on demand and promotes a woke, pro-abortion agenda,” the senators, led by Steve Daines R-MT, wrote in Thursday's letter. “Accordingly, we ask that you immediately terminate the U.S. Senate’s existing contracts with Citi and refrain from entering into any new contractual agreements with Citi.”
Other GOP lawmakers calling for an end to the chamber’s contract with Citi include Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Marco Rubio of Florida, Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, James Lankford of Oklahoma, Roger Wicker of Mississippi, Rick Scott of Florida, Mike Braun of Indiana, Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi and Roger Marshall of Kansas.
The office of the sergeant-at-arms provides Citi credit cards to members of the U.S. Senate and its leadership and committee offices to pay for air travel, office supplies and other goods, the senators wrote.
“Citi’s decision to finance abortion tourism for its employees, in brazen circumvention of State law, shows a reckless disregard for the lives of preborn children and disdain for the will of the people of the States in which Citi acts as an employer,” the senators wrote.
Citi CEO Jane Fraser addressed the issue at the bank's annual general meeting last week. The bank received 13 questions related to the travel policy.
One investor calling the policy a “gross misuse of funds,” while another praised the bank for including the benefit in its healthcare plan.
Fraser said the bank’s decision to cover travel costs for abortion is not a political statement, but a long-standing company policy.
“We know this is a subject that people feel passionate about," she said. "This benefit isn’t intended to be a statement about a very sensitive issue. What we did here was follow our past practices. We’ve covered reproductive health-care benefits for over 20 years, and our practice has also been to make sure our employees have the same health coverage no matter where in the U.S. they live.”
Fraser said the bank respects everyone’s views regarding abortion.