The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
March 9, 2006

Fact Sheet: Compassion in Action: Producing Real Results for Americans Most in Need

Today, President Bush Addressed The Second White House National Conference On Faith-Based And Community Initiatives, Highlighting The Important Role Corporations And Foundations Play In Funding Social Services.

The President's Initiative Is Producing Real Results For Americans In Need

Continued Increase In Federal Dollars To Faith-Based Organizations. Recent data from a review of more than 23,000 grants provided by the U.S. Departments of Heath and Human Services (HHS), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Justice (DOJ), Labor (DOL), Education, and Agriculture, and the U.S. Agency for International Development showed:

Helping The Poor Access New, Effective Programs. President Bush has created programs that mentor children of prisoners, train re-entering prisoners, treat addicts in the program of their choosing, discourage at-risk youth from gang activity, and provide technical assistance to small organizations seeking to help more people in need. From 2002 to 2006, President Bush requested $1.35 billion for these targeted initiatives, and Congress has appropriated $742 million. The President's 2007 budget calls for an additional $323 million for these programs, including funds for a new effort combating the spread of HIV/AIDS in minority communities.

Victory In The Federal Courts. Two important recent Federal Court decisions upheld President Bush's approach to FBOs and their rights. In American Jewish Congress v. Corporation for National and Community Service, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upheld the right of AmeriCorps grant recipients to teach religious and secular subjects in religiously affiliated schools. In January 2006, the Supreme Court declined review of the decision, leaving the Court of Appeals' ruling intact. In October 2005, in the case of Lown v. Salvation Army, a Federal District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled that churches and religious organizations retain their hiring autonomy when they receive Federal financial assistance. The court recognized FBOs do not become an arm of the government merely by receiving funding to provide social services.

Expansion Of Individual Choice. President Bush believes Americans in need should have the right to access services from the program of their choice. To date, Congress has appropriated nearly $300 million for the Access to Recovery drug treatment initiative announced by President Bush in his 2003 State of the Union Address. The President's 2007 budget expands individual choice in job training by proposing $3.4 billion for Career Advancement Accounts; provides $100 million for students in failing schools to find quality education; and built upon the President's Access to Recovery program by providing incentives for states to convert substance abuse block grants to permit individual choice.

Protecting The Rights Of Faith-Based Organizations. In February 2006, President Bush signed the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, which reauthorized welfare reform for another five years. The legislation also extended for five years a policy called Charitable Choice, which allows faith-based groups providing social services to receive Federal funding without altering their religious identities or changing their hiring practices.

Ending Discrimination Against Faith-Based Organizations. During the President's first term, Federal agencies promulgated fifteen final rules, including general rules covering funding from seven agencies; three regulations implementing Charitable Choice statutes; a DOL regulation implementing the amendment of EO 11246; and three regulations changing discriminatory language in specific HUD, Veterans' Affairs, and DOL programs. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Commerce published an interim final rule in August 2005 strengthening the Department's commitment to a level playing field for faith-based and community organizations. These regulations all clarify FBOs' eligibility to participate in Federal social service programs on the same basis as any other private organization and prohibits religious discrimination by distributors of Federal funds.

Taking The Faith-Based And Community Initiative To The Heartland. President Bush continues working to ensure that equal treatment for faith-based and community organizations extends to the State and local administration of Federal grant programs. Thirty-two Governors (20 Republicans and 12 Democrats) and over 115 Mayors have established an office or liaison for faith-based and community initiatives, and the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (OFBCI) has held a series of regional conferences to ensure State and local administrators of Federal funding understand and implement equal-treatment regulations.

Compassion Following The Gulf Coast Hurricanes. The compassionate response of faith-based and community groups to Gulf Coast hurricane victims is a reminder of the vital importance of these groups and the President's Initiative. The new DHS Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives will help integrate faith-based and community organizations into Federal, State, and local emergency response plans, enabling cooperation between these grassroots groups and various levels of government in disaster response efforts.

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