The federal government has a long history of partnering with religious and secular charities in an effort to serve people in need. Former President George W. Bush formalized these efforts by creating a White House office and a number of centers across various federal agencies, and he also established a specific set of church-state rules to govern these partnerships. President Obama retained this White House office and has continued some Bush policies, while making notable changes in other areas.
On December 17, the religion, policy and politics project at Brookings hosted an event featuring comments from Joshua DuBois, executive director of the White House office, and other Obama administration officials on the past work and future plans for the office. Following the presentations, a panel of experts responded and offered their thoughts regarding priorities for this White House office during President Obama’s second term. Speakers will explore how the Obama and Bush White House offices differ, whether the office is succeeding in meeting the needs of people who are at the margins in today’s society, and what the prospects are for resolving contentious issues such as religion-based decision-making regarding government-funded jobs.
Brookings scholars E.J. Dionne and Melissa Rogers co-moderated the panels and took audience questions after each.