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

February 9, 2018 By Public Affairs Office

WASHINGTON–Thismorning, the Bipartisan Budget Act was passed by Congress and signed into lawby President Trump. The bill includes the Federal Disaster AssistanceNonprofit Fairness Act, which codifies fair and equal treatment for houses ofworship damaged in natural disasters by enabling them to seek assistance fromthe Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Archbishop Joseph E.Kurtz of Louisville, chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty, andBishop Joseph C. Bambera of Scranton, chairman of the Committee on Ecumenicaland Interreligious Affairs, praised Congress for including disaster relieffairness provisions in the Act:

"Whenhurricanes and other natural disasters strike, houses of worship are on thefront lines of rebuilding efforts. Churches, synagogues, and mosques arevital to their communities, and they, like other important community institutions,need help recovering from the impacts of natural disasters. We applaudCongress for including provisions in the Budget Act that direct the FederalEmergency Management Agency to make disaster relief assistance available tohouses of worship on the same terms as other nonprofit entities. Theseprovisions ensure that houses of worship are treated fairly. That's goodnot only for houses of worship but for the communities that depend on them."

Links toletters of support for the Federal Disaster Assistance Nonprofit Fairness Actcan be found here: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/upload/Letter-of-Support-to-House-for-Federal-Disaster-Assistance-Nonprofit-Fairness-Act-of-2017.pdf


Abackgrounder is available at: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/upload/Federal-Disaster-Assistance-Nonprofit-Fairness-Act-2017-Fact-Sheet.pdf    

Keywords:Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, Bishop Joseph Bambera, USCCB, Federal DisasterAssistance Nonprofit Fairness Act, Bipartisan Budget Act, Federal EmergencyManagement Agency, FEMA, religious liberty, religious freedom, houses ofworship, disaster relief