Charitable Choice Provisions of H.R. 7

RS20948 -- Charitable Choice Provisions of H.R. 7

Updated June 14, 2004


H.R. 7, the Community Solutions Act, on July 19, 2001, won House passage by a vote of 233-198. The bill includes basic elements of President Bush's faith-based initiatives: tax incentives for private giving -- scaled back from original proposals (Title I) -- and expansion of charitable choice (Title II). (Title III deals with individual development accounts.) H.R. 7 would apply to 9 new program areas "charitable choice" rules, which forbid discrimination on grounds of religion against faith-based organizations as providers of specified federally funded services. It includes provisions aimed at protecting the religious independence of faith-based organizations (for instance, the right to hire only co-religionists and retain symbols) and protecting the religious freedom of beneficiaries (for instance, the right to an alternate and accessible provider). The bill bars use of federal grant/cooperative agreement funds (but not voucher payments) for sectarian worship. Note: This bill expired at the end of the 107th Congress. President Bush then issued an Executive Order (O13279) directing several Cabinet departments to adopt charitable choice rules "to the extent permitted by law."