Lieberman to draft alternate faith-based bill
By The Associated Press
|Sen. Joseph Lieberman
WASHINGTON Sen. Joseph Lieberman said yesterday he is developing his own version of legislation passed by the House last week that would expand federal funds for religious charities.
The House bill, supported by President Bush, faces opposition from Lieberman and other Democrats because it would pre-empt state and local laws barring discrimination in hiring.
"That's not right. It's not necessary. And it's going to stop a bipartisan agreement on this very good idea," Lieberman, D-Conn., told "Fox News Sunday."
"I've always believed that religion is a source of unity in America, not division. Right now, this bill is framed in a way that seems to have divided us."
Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle said he would allow the Bush-supported plan to come up for debate despite deep reservations about it
"I don't want to be tied to a specific time frame, but I clearly will give the president his opportunity, his day in court, and we'll have that debate," Daschle, D-S.D., told NBC's "Meet the Press."
|Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle
Based on the Senate workload, Daschle said, "It'd be difficult to get it done this year."
Lieberman said he would write his own initiative to encourage religious-based organizations to help solve society's problems "in a constitutionally appropriate way." Such a measure would compete with the bill passed by the House.
Lieberman, an Orthodox Jew who ran for vice president last year as Al Gore's running mate, often spoke during the campaign of an expanded role for religion in society.
Like Lieberman, Daschle is concerned that the House bill, in its current form, would allow discrimination against homosexuals and others.
"I do think that we've got to put in place some criteria by which we judge any organization's eligibility for federal resources, and I do believe that it's within our rights as a Congress and as a community to expect a certain level of tolerance," he said.
Faith-based initiative clears House, faces uphill climb in Senate
Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle has refused to set date for debate, yesterday reiterated objections raised by critics in the House.
House-approved version of 'faith-based' bill includes voucher plan
Under measure, if participants pay with government-provided voucher, churches can keep religious elements in social programs.
Faith-based plan fraught with thorny issues
Commentary President’s initiatives must be reconciled with First Amendment, anti-discrimination laws.
White House report: Federal agencies biased against religious groups
Department officials take concerns about separation of church and state too far when they distribute grant money, according to ‘Unlevel Playing Field.’
Helping the poor without harming their rights
By Charles Haynes People who raise constitutional concerns with faith-based initiatives want government to deliver social services without undermining religious freedom.
Director of president's faith-based office resigns
John DiIulio said he was frustrated by politics within the White House, worn down by liberals, conservatives fighting over Bush’s plan.