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house Bill H.R. 2405

Should Tax-Exempt Houses of Worship be Eligible for Federal Disaster Relief Like Other Nonprofits?

Argument in favor

Tax-exempt, nonprofit houses of worship should be eligible to receive the federal disaster assistance they need to rebuild after a disaster strikes their community. They should be treated the same as other nonprofits.

Monica's Opinion
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10/04/2017
These synagogues and churches are the very ones delivering aid in most cases, and excluding them hampers their community service.
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Tinee's Opinion
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08/31/2018
Yes. Houses of worship are often the first ones to respond & help people when natural disasters happen. I wasn't aware they didn't qualify for this.
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Karan's Opinion
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08/31/2018
If people who don’t pay taxes, which are people on welfare, and they still get aid, so should churches who get donations, not income.
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Argument opposed

Disaster relief funds shouldn’t go to any houses of worship, even if they have tax-exempt, nonprofit status in the eyes of the federal government. Religious groups aren’t the same as other nonprofits.

John's Opinion
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08/31/2018
Houses of worship should not have tax exempt status. They are eager to get into the political arena but want everyone to support them through tax exemption. There is a Constitutional wall separating church and state. Let’s live it!
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IllWill's Opinion
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08/31/2018
If they don’t pay taxes then absolutely not! If they’re not paying taxes then this is effectively a subsidy by the federal government. I thought we were supposed to have separation of church and state?
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Selu's Opinion
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10/25/2017
Don’t pay taxes? Don’t reap benefits of said taxes. Simple.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
      Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management
    IntroducedMay 11th, 2017

What is House Bill H.R. 2405?

This bill would amend the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act to include community centers, including tax-exempt houses of worship, as “private nonprofit facilities” for the purpose of eligibility for disaster relief eligibility. A church, synagogue, mosque, temple, or other house of worship, and a private nonprofit facility operated by a religious organization would be eligible for federal contributions to repair, restore, and replace facilities damaged or destroyed by a major disaster without regard to the religious character or use of the facility. 

This bill would apply to assistance in response to a major disaster or emergency declared on or after October 28, 2012.

Impact

Tax-exempt houses of worship seeking federal disaster relief funds; and the federal government.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 2405

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthSponsoring Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) introduced this bill to put houses of worship on an even playing field with other nonprofit organizations seeking disaster assistance, and said the following when he introduced this bill’s predecessor in 2015:

“Following Superstorm Sandy, we witnessed faith communities serving the needs of their devastated neighborhoods, providing hot food, warm clothes, and shelter — even though many of those houses of worship themselves were severely damaged. Houses of worship are critical public institutions within our communities, and they must not be denied the equal treatment they deserve.”

Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-NY), a lead cosponsor of the past and current bill, added at the time:

“It’s hard to believe that it will soon be three years since Sandy wreaked havoc on our region. But it’s even harder to believe that houses of worship continue to be denied the same treatment that is afforded to other non-profit entities. This wrongheaded policy remains unacceptable, and we will keep up the fight until synagogues, churches, mosques, and temples are permitted to receive this critical aid from FEMA.”

This legislation has the support of three bipartisan cosponsors in the House, including two Democrats and one Republican.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: Jocelyn Augustino - FEMA / Public Domain)

AKA

Federal Disaster Assistance Nonprofit Fairness Act of 2017

Official Title

To amend the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act to clarify that houses of worship are eligible for certain disaster relief and emergency assistance on terms equal to other eligible private nonprofit facilities, and for other purposes.

    These synagogues and churches are the very ones delivering aid in most cases, and excluding them hampers their community service.
    Like (63)
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    Houses of worship should not have tax exempt status. They are eager to get into the political arena but want everyone to support them through tax exemption. There is a Constitutional wall separating church and state. Let’s live it!
    Like (185)
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    First get rid of their tax exempt status, then we’ll talk about aid.
    Like (138)
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    If they don’t pay taxes then absolutely not! If they’re not paying taxes then this is effectively a subsidy by the federal government. I thought we were supposed to have separation of church and state?
    Like (117)
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    Don’t pay taxes? Don’t reap benefits of said taxes. Simple.
    Like (91)
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    Nope. They don’t pay taxes. Go back to your flock. #WWJD
    Like (38)
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    Yes. Houses of worship are often the first ones to respond & help people when natural disasters happen. I wasn't aware they didn't qualify for this.
    Like (26)
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    If people who don’t pay taxes, which are people on welfare, and they still get aid, so should churches who get donations, not income.
    Like (24)
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    They shouldn’t even be tax exempt!
    Like (18)
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    No fuck em'
    Like (17)
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    Of course they should be as eligible as any other Non-profit especially now since our Supreme Court decided corporations are people. They don’t pay taxes either except inside GOP propaganda that the poor babies need tax relief.
    Like (16)
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    Separation of church and state. They don't pay tax dollars and should stay out of politics completely.
    Like (15)
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    No. I would say yes if religious institutions were not also choosing to exclude serving certain groups of people on religious grounds. In a disaster people need assurance that they will all be served.
    Like (13)
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    The separation of church and State does not forbid the government from assisting churches with disaster relief. It simply means that the government shall not establish an official state religion. When considering the benefits that churches provide to the general welfare of the society through the teaching of Bible principles and their publically accessible programs, it's well worth the expense.
    Like (12)
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    Certainly not. Religion is and always must be separate from government. Churches do not play taxes. Churches can buy insurance just like you and I do.
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    Nope
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    The key to this question is not non-profit, but religious. When you see this, the question is ”questionable” and leans far left and centered on Communism.
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    The camel's nose under the tent. This violates the separation of church and state.
    Like (9)
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    Churches have forfeited their status for political influence.
    Like (9)
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    Absolutely not. Strict separation of Church and State. I don’t want any of my tax money going to ANY religions for ANY reason. If their “God” liked that house He wouldn’t have destroyed it right?
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