WASHINGTON (RNS) -- President Bush's faith-based initiative could be
stalled in the Senate until next year unless problems with
anti-discrimination provisions are worked out, Senate Democrats say.
Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., said Sunday (July 22) it
is unlikely the Senate will consider Bush's plan to funnel federal money
to religious charities this year. The House passed its version of the
bill 233-198 on Thursday.
Daschle said he has concerns about provisions in the bill that allow
religious groups to skirt local and state anti-bias laws. Daschle said
the bill, as written, is an "open invitation" to allow discrimination
and would not say when the bill would come up in the Democrat-controlled
"I don't want to be tied to a specific time frame, but I clearly
will give the president his opportunity, his day in court, and we'll
have that debate," Daschle said on NBC's "Meet the Press."
One of the bill's chief backers in the Senate, meanwhile, said he
will take a look at the bill and try to rework its provisions on
discrimination. Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., told "Fox News Sunday"
he will rework the bill in an attempt to find "common ground."
"I've always believed that religion is a source of unity in America,
not division," said Lieberman, an Orthodox Jew. "Right now, this bill is
framed in a way that seems to have divided us, certainly along party
lines. That's not necessary."