Washington D.C., Feb 9, 2018 / 03:00 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The USCCB issued a statement Friday praising the early morning passage of the Bipartisan Budget Act, which, in addition to preventing a government shutdown, also codified into law a new FEMA policy that would allow churches and other houses of worship to apply for disaster relief funds.
The policy was developed by FEMA in January, after three Texas churches damaged by hurricanes sued the government claiming discrimination.
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>U.S. Bishops Chairmen Commend Provisions in Budget Act that Ensure Houses of Worship Can Apply for Federal Disaster Assistance <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/BudgetDeal?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#BudgetDeal</a> <a href=”https://t.co/Js5JOpRmIB”>pic.twitter.com/Js5JOpRmIB</a></p>&… US Catholic Bishops (@USCCB) <a href=”https://twitter.com/USCCB/status/962020270662868992?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>February 9, 2018</a></blockquote>
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As houses of worship–including churches, synagogues, and mosques–are often directly involved in the recovery effort after a natural disaster, it makes sense that they too are able to receive federal assistance with rebuilding, said a statement from Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty, and Bishop Joseph C. Bambera, chairman of the Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs.
“We applaud Congress for including provisions in the Budget Act that direct the Federal Emergency Management Agency to make disaster relief assistance available to houses of worship on the same terms as other nonprofit entities. These provisions ensure that houses of worship are treated fairly,” said the bishops.