House OKs Bill to Allow FEMA Aid for Sandy-Hit Faith Sites

The House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed legislation Wednesday to make churches mosques, synagogues, and other religious buildings damaged by Superstorm Sandy eligible for federal aid, the Associated Press reports.

Major faith bodies, including the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops, the National Association of Evangelicals, and the Jewish Federations of North America, had pressed for a reversal of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s bar on direct grants to houses of worship. Civil-liberties groups oppose the bill, saying it violates the constitutional separation of church and state.

The 354-72 House vote sends the bill to the Senate.

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