Tags: Disaster Planning | senators | propose | bill | FEMA | help | churches

Sens Propose Bill That Would Allow FEMA Help for Churches

Image: Sens Propose Bill That Would Allow FEMA Help for Churches
(Marie D. De Jesus/AP)

By    |   Tuesday, 19 September 2017 11:36 AM

A group of senators announced on Tuesday their introduction of a bill that would make houses of worship eligible to receive disaster assistance from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants.

The four senators are Roy Blunt, R-Mo., John Cornyn, R-Texas, Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and James Lankford, R-Okla, according to a press release on Blunt's website.

"Houses of worship provide vital support services during natural disasters, including food, comfort, shelter and much more. It is imperative that they have the resources they need to recover and rebuild. I urge my colleagues to support this bill, and help ensure houses of worship are able to continue serving local communities when they need it most," Blunt said in the press release.

"Nonprofits often play a critical role in filling the gaps in assistance, and houses of worship are no different. Equal treatment in FEMA grant programs for all nonprofits, including religious institutions, must be reached so these groups can continue to help communities in Texas and elsewhere recover," Cornyn said in the release.

Houses of worship are not eligible for FEMA grants under the Stafford Act, but the bill would give the worship areas the same status as nonprofits, Blunt's press release said.

Cruz called the exclusion "discriminatory and wrong" in the press release. "These religious institutions are central to our communities, provide vital services to our friends and neighbors, and are often the first to open their doors during a devastating crisis offering aid to those in need," Cruz added.

Three Texas churches filed a lawsuit challenging the policy after they were damaged in Hurricane Harvey, according to The Washington Post.

On Sept. 8, President Donald Trump tweeted his support for the churches.

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A group of senators announced on Tuesday their introduction of a bill that would make houses of worship eligible to receive disaster assistance from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants.
senators, propose, bill, FEMA, help, churches
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2017-36-19
Tuesday, 19 September 2017 11:36 AM
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