Churches, synagogues, mosques and other faith-based community centers damaged in a natural disaster could be eligible for federal disaster relief funds under a measure approved by a congressional committee.
The Disaster Recovery Reform Act, also known as H.R. 4460, was approved on Thursday (Nov. 30) by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and will next move to the House floor for deliberation.
The bill received strong support from both sides of the aisle despite objections that using taxpayer funds to rebuild houses of worship would violate the separation of church and state. Proponents of the measure argue that religious groups, which are often at the forefront of disaster relief efforts, are being unfairly disadvantaged.
The bill is being considered in the wake of a particularly destructive hurricane season that saw storms ravage Puerto Rico, Florida and the Texas coastline, and wildfires in October that swept across Northern California, where damage costs soar above $1 billion.
Courtesy: Religion News Service
Photo: Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., addresses the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee during a hearing in the Rayburn House Office Building on Nov. 30, 2017.
Photo courtesy: Chris Mathews
Publication date: December 1, 2017