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PRESS RELEASE: Church Leaders Meet with Senior White House Officials to Discuss Good News for the Poor in Pending Legislation

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Jim Simpson

Center on Faith and Justice

jim.simpson@georgetown.edu

Church Leaders Meet with Senior White House Officials to Discuss Good News for the Poor in Pending Legislation

Members of the Circle of Protection have been invited to the White House today to meet with senior White House officials. The bishops and leaders of national church organizations with nearly 100 million members are working together as the Circle of Protection to urge passage of the momentous economic bills that Congress is considering now and voting rights legislation this fall.  The focus of this meeting is on the family support bill being debated in Congress right now.

In a letter they are presenting to the President and Congress today, they affirm that these pending bills “would strengthen the physical and social infrastructure of our society, cut family and child poverty more than any time in our lives, and ensure the precious right to vote for all people made in God’s image.”

As Congress negotiates the final version of the family support budget bill, these church leaders are urging them not to cut its anti-poverty provisions and to tax high-income people and corporations to pay for them. “The Bible is clear in its opposition to the concentration of wealth amid neglected human need,” they note.

“At this moment of historic decision, we are urging the people in our churches and organizations to pay attention to what the President and Congress are doing and be active in advocacy that reflects biblical priorities,” they write. Indeed, the churches and organizations in the Circle of Protection are all communicating with their grassroots members, often sending out action alerts about poverty-focused programs such as the Child Tax Credit.

Congressional improvements in the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit this spring played a big part in reducing the percentage of Americans in poverty this summer to below its pre-pandemic level. Notably, these credits were extended to very poor families and individuals. But this year’s reduction of poverty will be short-lived unless the tax-credit improvements are extended in the family support budget bill. The Circle’s letter specifically urges that the provisions that are benefiting very poor Americans be made permanent and fully refundable. 

The church groups in the Circle of Protection have worked together over the past ten years to resist repeated government shutdowns and massive political pressure to cut safety-net programs. The Circle has stood against balancing the federal budget on the backs of people in poverty and strongly believes that budgets are moral documents. They have now come together in support of an unprecedented national effort to finally reduce poverty and make it possible for struggling families to get ahead.

The church groups in the Circle are all communicating to their memberships about the momentous legislation that Congress is considering, often sending out action alerts. 

Church leaders in West Virginia met with Senator Joe Manchin last week about extending the Child Tax Credit improvements.   

The organizations in the Circle of Protection represent all the main branches of Christianity. They include Catholic Charities, the National Association of Evangelicals, the National Council of Churches, the National African American Clergy Network, the National Association of Latino Evangelicals, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Bread for the World, Sojourners, and the Georgetown University Center on Faith and Justice.

The Circle of Protection letter, including the full list of its signers, can be read here.

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