Despite bipartisan rhetoric, Tom Daschle continues to plan vote on faith based and community initiatives

Third in a series of five

WASHINGTON – The U.S. House passed a version of President Bush\’s widely popular faith based initiative last July. Yet, the bill, like so many others, has languished in the Senate under the drab hands of Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle for nearly a year.

Regrettably, this phenomenon of bills pining away in the Senate has become more of a rule than an exception in the year since Daschle took control of the Senate last June.

Currently, the Senate has failed to take action on the faith based initiative, has failed to move on 22 judicial nominations in a federal judiciary with 94 vacancies, has failed to move on a widely bipartisan pension reform plan, has failed to move on Trade Promotion Authority, has failed to reform energy policy and to make last year\’s historic tax relief plan permanent.

Faith Based Initiative: On February seventh of this year, President bushed called a meeting with Senators Lieberman (D-Conn.) and Santorum (R-Penn.) to promote the faith based initiative program to the American people. According to the Faith Based Community Initiatives Organization, "Effective immediately, the Federal Government has adopted a new attitude to honor and not restrict faith-based and community initiatives, to accept rather than to dismiss, and to empower rather than ignore such programs." Unfortunately, it looks as though Sen. Tom Daschle is restricting, dismissing and ignoring the altruistic and bipartisan plan altogether.

Democratic Senator Joseph Lieberman agreed with President Bush on the importance of such a bill explaining its strong points, "faith has been strong enough to unify all of us as we went forward to find a constitutionally appropriate way to have a faith-based initiative, to help people who want to do good works and whose desire to do good works is motivated by their faith."

The faith-based initiative is a plan for all Americans, despite religious or spiritual preference, to assist other Americans who are in more need. Nevertheless, Sen. Daschle, who has taken the public position of being supportive of the popular proposal, has shown no interest in moving the bill to a vote in the Senate.

Taxpayer advocate Grover Norquist, who heads Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) in Washington and is a supporter of the legislation, said "Words mean nothing and action speaks plainly. Daschle needs walk the walk on faith-based initiatives and invite a debate and vote on the issue, instead of dealing in rhetorical.

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