Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) introduced legislation to protect religious organizations from Obamacare’s overreach last summer. Now, as President Obama presses forward with his anti-conscience mandate, Blunt is prepared to keep the pressure on the White House.

“This is a genuine assault on First Amendment freedoms,” Blunt said in an exclusive interview with Heritage following a speech here Monday.

Obama’s controversial mandate, a result of Obamacare, requires religious institutions to provide for contraceptives, abortion-inducing drugs and sterilization in their health coverage — even if it violates the beliefs of those institutions.

Blunt dismissed Obama’s “accommodation” announcement last week as an “accounting gimmick.” He said it’s not an issue of money as Obama portrayed it Friday.

“This is not about cost. It’s about the Constitution,” Blunt said. “And if you can decide this no longer offends me because I don’t have to pay for it, I guess you’re concern is financial all the time and not faith-based.”

Blunt introduced the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act last August. It would allow employers to decline coverage of services in conflict with religious beliefs. He tried to offer it as an amendment last week, but was blocked by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV).

“We want to be sure we’ve established the principle here that the Constitution establishes — that President Washington understood and President Jefferson understood, and my guess is, every president between them and right now understood — and that is respect for conscience is respect for religious freedom,” Blunt said.

The interview runs about 4 minutes. Hosted by Rob Bluey and produced by Brandon Stewart. For more videos from Heritage, subscribe to our YouTube channel.