Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Gop Congress May Fire Chaplains

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Gop Congress May Fire Chaplains

Article excerpt

The new Republican majorities in Congress are considering breaking two centuries of tradition by eliminating the House and Senate chaplains.

Eliminating the chaplains could save the government as much as $289,000 in salaries.

Richard Halverson, the Senate chaplain, is paid $115,700 a year and has an assistant who makes about $50,000 a year. James Ford, the House chaplain, makes $123,000 a year.

Republicans have promised to cut Congress' budget sharply and reduce the number of House and Senate employees.

Rep. Robert Livingston, R-La., the incoming House Appropriations Committee chairman, has expressed support for eliminating the chaplains.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State also has called for eliminating the chaplains.

"Maintaining a system of congressional chaplains forces Americans to pay for religious activities, and that's wrong," said Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United. "This is one of those rare opportunities where Congress has an opportunity to trim some fat and do right by the Constitution. …

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