- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 15, 2020

The White House has issued a memo directing federal agencies to detail how they will comply with President Trump’s executive order to prevent discrimination against faith-based organizations in distributing federal grants.

Acting Office of Management and Budget Director Russ Vought issued the memo aimed at holding accountable not only federal agencies but also state recipients that issue “sub-awards” in a federal program, the Washington Times has learned.

“President Trump is continuing to keep his promise to protect religious liberty,” Mr. Vought said. “No longer will faith-based organizations be bullied by the government, which has not done enough to ensure that religious groups are not discriminated against when receiving federal resources.”

He said the president “is committed to safeguarding Americans’ Constitutional, religious rights and making sure the government is held responsible to the law.”

The action also comes ahead of a presidential announcement on school prayer scheduled for Thursday. Mr. Trump said he has directed Attorney General William P. Barr to work on the issue.The directive requires agencies within 120 days to comply and provide evidence of updating their policies.

Federal agencies are required to demonstrate the steps taken to stop discrimination against faith-based organizations, including at the sub-grant level, according to the executive order signed in 2017.

An administration official said it’s hoped that Mr. Vought’s action will stop potential discrimination against faith-based groups at the state level before it can begin.

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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