The House of Representatives tonight concurred with the Senate amendments to Congressman Doug Collins' (GA-09) H. Con. Res. 58 under unanimous consent. The resolution, offered by Congressman Collins on October 5, expressed the sense of Congress that military chaplains who had been furloughed during the recent lapse in appropriations would still be permitted to provide the access to religious expression to members of our military as required by federal law.
Tonight's action on the amended resolution comes one day after Congressman Collins wrote to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel seeking clarification on the Department of Defense's position regarding contract chaplains during the government shutdown. That letter may be viewed here. After the resolution was agreed to, Congressman Collins said:
"First and foremost, we need to make sure First Amendment rights are restored to our military as soon as possible. While the Senate amendments were both unnecessary and a striking blow to the spirit of the resolution, I am glad that Congress has agreed that religious freedom should never be a political pawn. I still look forward to a response from Secretary Hagel about his department's treatment of the First Amendment during this government shutdown."