Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, today took to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives to manage the debate over a bill that would provide for disaster relief for houses of worship that suffered damage related to natural disasters. Currently, the Obama Administration interprets the law to preclude such relief. The bill is the Federal Disaster Assistance Nonprofit Fairness Act of 2013 (H.R. 592). It passed the House 354-72.
"Flooding or other natural disasters can be catastrophic, and often harm the ability of people to do simple things like go to church or synagogue," Rep. Barletta said. "If we take care of other parts of our communities, certainly we can do the same for houses of worship."
In past disasters, Congress has specifically provided that religious nonprofits, including houses of worship, should be eligible for disaster relief assistance.
"I can recall Hurricane Irene and Topical Storm Lee, and I know how horrific it was in my district," Rep. Barletta said. "Any help we can offer will be key."