Bush Administration to Revisit Faith-Based Initiative

More than two weeks after the terrorist strikes on New York City and Washington, D.C., the Bush administration is returning, albeit cautiously, to its domestic agenda, the Washington Post reports, with some White House officials arguing that the president's popularity in the aftermath of the attacks will make it easier to round up support for the administration's efforts to boost government support for faith-based charities.

A senior Bush aide said the surge in charitable giving in response to the attacks had created renewed interest in the president's faith-based initiative, and a deal on legislation, which had been stalled in the Senate over constitutional objections, may be reached before Congress recesses at the end of October. To address the concerns of senators opposed to the current legislation, advisers to the president are considering dropping the "charitable choice" provision that would allow government-funded charities to keep most of their religious components, while keeping the legislation's popular tax credit provisions to encourage charitable giving.

Dan Gerstein, spokesman for Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), said there would be "a lot of support on both sides of the aisle" to move ahead quickly with the tax credits part of the proposal, but an effort to push through the entire package would encounter resistance. Lieberman, a leading Democratic voice on faith-based issues, has said he will write his own version of the legislation.

Dana Milbank. "Bush Turns to Domestic Agenda" Washington Post 09/25/2001.