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U.S. Bishops Chairmen Commend Provisions in Budget Act that Ensure Houses of Worship Can Apply for Federal Disaster Assistance

February 9, 2018

WASHINGTON–This morning, the Bipartisan Budget Act was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump. The bill includes the Federal Disaster Assistance Nonprofit Fairness Act, which codifies fair and equal treatment for houses of worship damaged in natural disasters by enabling them to seek assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty, and Bishop Joseph C. Bambera of Scranton, chairman of the Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, praised Congress for including disaster relief fairness provisions in the Act:

"When hurricanes and other natural disasters strike, houses of worship are on the front lines of rebuilding efforts. Churches, synagogues, and mosques are vital to their communities, and they, like other important community institutions, need help recovering from the impacts of natural disasters. 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. That's good not only for houses of worship but for the communities that depend on them."

Links to letters of support for the Federal Disaster Assistance Nonprofit Fairness Act can be found here: 

A backgrounder is available at:    

Keywords: Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, Bishop Joseph Bambera, USCCB, Federal Disaster Assistance Nonprofit Fairness Act, Bipartisan Budget Act, Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, religious liberty, religious freedom, houses of worship, disaster relief


Media Contact:
Judy Keane

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