Lobbying Congress for a Faithful Budget

Note:  I participated in these days and was energized by the significant number of young adults who participated.  It give me hope for the future!  Jeanne Christensen, RSM

At the end of March, over 700 persons from many religious denominations participated in the 2012 Ecumenical Advocacy Days in Washington, D.C. Ecumenical Advocacy Days is a movement of the ecumenical Christian community, and its recognized partners and allies, to strengthen Christian voices and to mobilize for advocacy on a wide variety of U.S. domestic and international policy issues.

The highlight of the three-day gathering was the release of a Faithful Budget. This promotes comprehensive and compassionate budget principles that will “protect the common good, values each individual and his or her livelihood, and helps lift the burden on the poor, rather than increasing it while shielding the wealthiest from any additional sacrifice.”

On Monday, March 26, EAD participants delivered the Faithful Budget to their Senators and Members of Congress, and lobbied for restoring economic opportunity, ensuring adequate resources for shared priorities, prioritizing human security, meeting immediate needs, accepting intergenerational responsibility, environmental reform, access to health care, and the role of government.

Key talking points included:

  • Restoring economic opportunity: invest in programs that promote economic mobility and security, like high-quality, affordable education, sustainable jobs with living wages, policies that help families to build assets, and international aid programs that build economic security in the world’s most vulnerable places.
  • Ensuring adequate resources for shared priorities: reinstate a just tax system that calls for shared responsibility, among individuals and corporations, to ensure sufficient revenues to meet our needs and priorities.
  • Prioritizing true human security: make investments in growth, not destruction, in order to build meaningful security for individuals, families, and communities.
  • Meeting immediate need: protect the funding and structure of core safety-net programs while ensuring investments in critical human needs, social service, environmental protection, and humanitarian and poverty-focused international assistance programs.
  • Recognizing a robust role for government: we need the government’s continued partnership to combat poverty, reduce extreme inequality, restore economic opportunity for all, and rebuild a robust middle class. The faith community cannot meet the need alone.
  • Caring for God’s Creation sustainably and responsibly: make budget choices that protect air, water, and land – the entirety of Creation – that they might be preserved for future generations.

The Faithful Budget was spearheaded by a coalition of leading Christian, Jewish, Muslim and other faith-based organizations affiliated with many of the major religious denominational movements.  It is a continuation of the Faithful Budget Campaign, an effort launched in July by the religious community during the height of the congressional debt ceiling battle to lift up faithful voices on behalf of the nation’s most vulnerable in order to encourage the administration and Congress to maintain a robust commitment to domestic and international poverty assistance programs.

The full document as well as additional details about the Faithful Budget Campaign can be found at www.faithfulbudget.org.

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