When the House passed H.R. 7, the bill allowing religious organizations to compete for federal social service funds, many journalists and pundits predicted the legislation would have a rough go of it in the Senate (and rightly so, said several newspaper editorials). But it appears that the obituaries were premature. Bush's faith-based initiative is actually "gaining traction among key Democratic senators," reports Cox News Service. The first key Democrat is Georgia's Zell Miller, who sent a letter to his fellow party members Thursday to fellow Democrats urging them to support legislation. "We cannot equivocate," he wrote. "We cannot abdicate this heretofore-Democratic mandate. We do so at our own peril." (Miller has been a recent ally of Bush, siding with Republicans on the recent tax cut and other measures.) According to Cox, Miller's letter quoted extensively from a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece by Andrew Young, a former Democratic congressman, mayor of Atlanta and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations who now runs a nonprofit organization. "We all know that Al Gore endorsed charitable choice … during the presidential campaign," Young wrote.
In addition, the House has voted eight times on charitable choice provisions that would allow faith-based organizations to apply for various government grants. Fifty-two Democratic members voted for at least six of the eight provisions, and 20 voted for all eight. In fact, charitable choice was passed in 1996 under a Democratic administration with bipartisan support. Then, there were none of the alarmist reactions from various quarters that have accompanied the introduction of this year's legislation. … Are such reactions based on the fact that this year's bill was introduced by ...
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