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Public Statements

Federal Disaster Assistance Nonprofit Fairness Act of 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. BARLETTA. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

First, I want to acknowledge the work of the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Smith) for his leadership on this bipartisan legislation.

Currently, the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, also known as the Stafford Act, provides for assistance to nonprofit organizations to rebuild damaged facilities following a declared disaster.

Like other nonprofit organizations, religious-based organizations have seen significant damage to their facilities from disasters. Just last year, for example, we saw facilities owned by both religious and nonreligious organizations alike damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Sandy.

The administration is interpreting current law to allow some religious nonprofits to receive reconstruction assistance, while others do not. For example, parochial schools and religious hospitals receive funds, while a soup kitchen or a shelter may not, depending on how often it is used for purely religious purposes.

H.R. 592 clarifies that facilities owned by religious-based organizations qualify for certain types of disaster assistance.

Again, let me thank the gentleman from New Jersey for his efforts on behalf of his constituents to rebuild the storm-ravaged areas of his State.

I reserve the balance of my time.


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