March 13, 2001
volume 12, no. 72

Bush to Delay Faith-Based Charity Plan

    WASHINGTON, DC, Mar. 12, 01 (CWNews.com) - The Bush administration will delay proposing parts of its plan to funnel social program funds through faith-based groups to give it more time to quell opposition from some surprising quarters, according to the Washington Post on Monday.

    "We're postponing," Don Eberly, deputy director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, told the newspaper. "We're not ready to send our own bill up." Eberly acknowledged that the proposal "may need to be corrected in some areas."

    While some opposition was expected from left-wing church-state separation groups, some religious conservatives such as Pat Robertson and even Marvin Olasky, one of the idea's early architects, have expressed their doubts. They worry that government regulations watering down churches' missions would be attached to any government funds or that objectionable sects would be included.

    The newspaper said Bush's faith-based initiative is a much broader program that includes non-controversial provisions that will likely be implemented quickly and quietly. A proposal to expand the charitable tax deduction to those who don't itemize has almost no opposition. Some observers said that could mean a $14 billion, or 11 percent, annual increase in charitable giving.

    The major argument is about a law passed in 1996 as part of welfare reform and signed by President Bill Clinton. Bush isn't proposing changing what is known as the charitable choice provision-- which lets religious charities compete for government welfare dollars-- but merely wants to expand its reach to other programs.

March 13, 2001
volume 12, no. 72
USA News
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