Rep. Ted Budd Submits Public Comment Strongly Supporting Equal Treatment of Faith-Based Organizations
Washington, D.C.— Today, U.S. Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC) submitted a public comment to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) strongly supporting its new proposed regulation to ensure equal treatment of faith-based organizations.
The proposed rule would remove regulatory burdens on faith-based organizations, ensure equal treatment between religious and non-religious organizations in HHS-supported programs, and allow faith-based organizations to apply for federal grants on equal footing with secular organizations.
The rule reverses an Obama-era policy requiring faith-based providers of social services - but not secular providers - to disclose their religious affiliation and refer potential clients to other providers.
In his comment, Rep. Budd highlights how HHS’s proposed rule will protect faith-based organizations who play a key role in providing services to the communities around them, including during times of crisis. He also highlights how the ongoing crusade to eradicate faith-based organizations from public life would have dire consequences for the communities these organizations serve.
The text of Rep. Budd’s latest letter is below and a copy of the correspondence can be viewed here.
February 13, 2020
The Honorable Alex M. Azar II
United States Secretary of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C., 20201
RE: HHS Docket No. HHS-OS-2019-0012
Dear Secretary Azar:
I write to express my strong support to the proposed rule, “Ensuring Equal Treatment of Faith-Based Organizations,” published by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in the Federal Register on January 16, 2020. This proposed rule removes regulatory burdens on faith-based organizations, ensures equal treatment between religious and non-religious organizations in HHS-supported programs, and allows faith-based organizations to apply for federal grants on equal footing with secular organizations. This rule reverses an Obama-era policy requiring faith-based providers of social services - but not other providers of social services - to disclose their religious affiliation and refer potential clients to other providers.
As you know, faith-based organizations play an essential role in providing key services to the communities around them, including during times of crisis. During Hurricane Florence in 2018, volunteers from Samaritan’s Purse were there to help after the Hurricane devastated thousands of homes across the state. According to Lorraine Jenkins, a resident of New Bern, North Carolina, she “had faith but needed a little more strength” when she returned to find her home flooded with 18 inches of water. Thankfully, several volunteers from Samaritan’s purse were there to pray with Lorraine to give her the strength she needed. And during Hurricane Dorian in 2019, the Salvation Army provided 43,912 meals, 55,464 drinks, 25,689 snacks and 48 cleanup kits to victims.
The benefits of faith-based organizations don’t just stop there - they also provide key support services to children, many of whom are victims of the opioid crisis. The crisis has left over 92,000 children in foster care and in need of loving homes. Faith-based adoption agencies play a pivotal role in finding homes for these children. In addition, faith-based organizations launch many initiatives to provide joy to less fortunate children around the world including “operation Christmas child” which brings shoe filled gifts to children during Christmas time.
Sadly, despite the clear benefits faith based organizations provide to the communities around them, the left has launched an ongoing crusade to shut them down for following their sincerely held religious beliefs and to strip them of federal funding. This is why I strongly support this proposed rule - I believe the federal government has no business enacting discriminatory policies against faith-based providers of social services. To that end, I applaud the department’s efforts to ensure that faith-based organizations are able to continue providing the valuable services they do and I urge the department to finalize the proposed rule.
Ted Budd, Member of Congress