Pressures stemming from the war on terrorism have persuaded the White House to eliminate the most controversial provisions of its faith-based initiative in order to get the legislation passed before the end of the year, the New York Times reports.
Faith-based legislation passed by the House earlier this summer stalled in the Senate after Democratic leaders objected to provisions in the bill that would have allowed religious groups receiving federal money to discriminate in their hiring based on religion and to proselytize the constituents they served. To get the bill through the Senate, President Bush agreed on Wednesday to eliminate the objectionable provisions. At the same time, the White House announced that Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) and Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-CT) had agreed to co-sponsor the revised bill.
In letters sent to Senate majority leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) and minority leader Trent Lott (R-MS), President Bush said the nation's charities — which in many cases are having trouble raising funds for causes other than the relief of victims affected by the September 11 terror attacks — need help immediately, and any legislation passed by Congress should include incentives for charitable donations.