Congress Bill Offers Disaster Relief to Houses of Worship

A bipartisan trio of northeastern members of the U.S. House of Representatives reintroduced legislation that would provide direct relief to synagogues and churches damaged by natural disaster.

Reps. Chris Smith, (R-N.J.), Grace Meng (D-N.Y.) and Peter King (R-N.Y.), this week introduced the Federal Disaster Assistance Nonprofit Fairness Act, which would override existing Federal Emergency Management Agency rules that exclude houses of worship from recovery funds.

Read: Hit by Sandy, Synagogue Finds Faith Renewed

A similar bill introduced by Meng and Smith in the last Congress, in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, passed overwhelmingly in February 2013, but never made it through the Senate.

The Orthodox Union, which lobbied for the bill, praised the lawmakers.

““The recent flooding in Houston reminds us that houses of worship are equally affected by severe flooding and natural disasters,” Nathan Diament, the O.U.’s Washington director, said in a statement Thursday. “When a natural disaster occurs, most often it is the churches and synagogues that offer comfort and a place to gather for members of the community.”

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Congress Bill Offers Disaster Relief to Houses of Worship

Thank you!

This article has been sent!

Close