Four Republican senators introduced legislation to allow churches to receive disaster relief money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The legislation was written in response to the devastating hurricanes in Florida and Texas, where houses of worship are playing significant roles providing help to hard-hit communities.
Under current law, FEMA cannot provide money to churches for the repair, reconstruction, or replacement of facilities.
The senators said the bill they have authored would allow churches to have access to the same money as other non-profit facilities.
The senators noted last summer's Supreme Court 7-2 ruling that a Missouri church could access state grant money to resurface the church playground.
"We must ensure that religious organizations are eligible for federal assistance on the same terms as other non-profits after being damaged or destroyed during natural disasters such as Hurricanes Harvey and Irma," said sponsor Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. "These religious institutions are central to our communities, provide vital services for our friends and neighbors, and are often the first to open their doors during a devastating crisis offering aid to those in need."
Sens. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., James Lankford, R-Okla., and Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, joined Cruz as sponsors on the bill.
"Equal treatment in FEMA grant programs for all nonprofits, including religious institutions, must be reached so these groups can continue to help communities in Texas and elsewhere recover," Cornyn said.