Speaker Pelosi, Faith Leaders and Reps. DeLauro, Jackson Lee, Sewell, Doggett, and McEachin Call for Passage of Build Back Better

For Immediate Release: October 20, 2021

Contact: Colleen Ross, NETWORK Lobby, 248-703-7981; cross@networklobby.org

Chris Ford, Bread for the World, 202-688-1077; cford@bread.org

Tim McHugh, Friends Committee on National Legislation, 202-680-0742; tim@fcnl.org 

Austin Schuler, Faith in Public Life, 540-280-3393, aschuler@faithinpubliclife.org 

 

Speaker Pelosi, Faith Leaders and Reps. DeLauro, Jackson Lee, Sewell, Doggett, and McEachin Call for Passage of Build Back Better

Members of Congress join faith leaders during 12-Hour Vigil on Capitol Hill

 

WASHINGTON, D.C.  – Today, interfaith advocates and Members of Congress began holding a 12-hour prayer vigil on Capitol Hill to urge Congress to pass the Build Back Better plan. 

During the vigil, Representative Jim McGovern (MA-02) lifted up the importance of supporting children and families, while Representatives Maxine Waters (CA-43) and Ritchie Torres (NY-15) joined to call for robust investment in housing in the Build Back Better plan. Ai-jen Poo, Co-Founder and Executive Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, spoke about the importance of investing in the care economy, and Rev. Dr. Starsky Wilson, President & CEO of the Children's Defense Fund called on Congress to invest in children. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA-12), said: “Whether or not you are a person of faith, we can all agree that we have a moral obligation to our children to pass the planet on in a responsible way. That is why Democrats are hard at work building a better future for our children: from combating the climate crisis to investing in their health and education to supporting their families, and more.  As Speaker of the House, it was an honor to highlight Democrats’ work to Build Back Better alongside this group of interfaith leaders who represent a beautiful tapestry of traditions – and who are keeping the faith in this fight!”

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), said: “I have been honored to fight side by side with all of you to implement the expanded and the improved child tax credit, a groundbreaking and transformative policy achievement.”

Congresswoman Terri Sewell (AL-07), said: “Your healthcare should not be dependent on your zip code. Everyone should have access to quality healthcare and afford their plans”

Congressman Lloyd Doggett (TX-35), said: “We need to build back better. Not build back weak. That is why we are here today.”

 

Congressman Donald McEachin (VA-04), said: "We know that we cannot address the climate crisis without helping environmental justice communities. There is still more to do. There is environmental justice for all. 

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), said: “Texas is the poster child for the uninsured. Are we going to tell them there is no health care for them?”

 

Dianne Randall, General Secretary of the Friends Committee on National Legislation, said: 

“As Congress deliberates crucial recovery packages, our values will power our engagement with lawmakers. And we take comfort in the fact that we’re joined by other faith groups who seek a more inclusive economy, a more just society and a more sustainable earth. People across our country — from different faith backgrounds or from no particular faith — agree that this is a moment worth seizing for assuring every life is valued.”

Sister Carol Zinn, SSJ, Executive Director of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, said: 

“When Jesus says clearly, ‘Everytime you did or did not feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, visit the imprisoned, take care of the sick, and welcome the stranger, you did it to me. And when you did not do those things, you did it to me.’ You did it to me, Build Back Better for all.” 

Sheila Katz, CEO of the National Council of Jewish Women, said:

“As people of faith, we believe in the dignity of every human being. We believe that everyone deserves to live and thrive, not merely survive.”

Reverend Jim Wallis, Leader of the Center on Faith and Justice at Georgetown University, said: 

“To end the Child Tax Credit now would be pulling the rug out from working families just as many of them are finally getting back on their feet after a long and painful pandemic. And now they’re dealing with runaway inflation making the costs of living even higher. We have a moral obligation to ensure that every child - all made in the image of God -- has the chance to grow and thrive.”

 

Rabbi Jonah Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, said:

“There is a country, there is a society, there is a world that is broken. It needs to be restored, it needs to be repaired, it needs to be renewed. This tri-part plague of COVID-19, systemic racism, and the destruction of our planet through climate change has revealed the brutal inequality and racialized injustices of our society, as low-income people, Black and Brown folks, communities of color, Native peoples are suffering at disproportionate rates.” 

Reverend Adam Taylor, President of Sojourners, said: 

“We have a calling to prioritize compassion and justice. These commitments are not defined to individual acts, they are also tied to our communal acts together...Not only will a commitment to prioritize justice and compassion bless others, it will ultimately bless and uplift us all. A politics and economy that will prioritize the common good will produce more flourishing and wholeness for everyone.’’

 

Galen Carey, Vice President of Government Relations at National Association of Evangelicals, said: 

“If Congress fails to act, the number of children living in poverty will rise substantially, dimming the futures of countless girls and boys. We know that children whose basic needs are met grow up healthier, do better in school, and are less likely to live in poverty as adults. The Child Tax Credit is a smart investment in our nation’s future -- one that pays dividends now and for many years to come.”

 

John Carr, Co-Director of the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life at Georgetown University, said:

“The tax credits are pro-family, pro-child, pro-life, they are anti-hunger, they are anti-homelessness, they are anti-racism and they are anti-poverty. They are the moral measure of who we are.”

Reverend Dr. Leslie Copeland-Tune, COO of National Council of Churches, said: 

“We have a historic moment to do justice right now. Build Back Better will make a difference in the lives of many. Let us not delay any further.”

Reverend Jen Butler, CEO of Faith in Public Life, said: 

“Even though the fight is long, I am hopeful. When we work together, across faiths and race and place, we pass policies that lift us all. We will pass a Build Back Better plan that lays the foundation of a Holy Recovery from the trauma of COVID and the long legacy of white supremacy. We will do it, together, united in faith, as neighbors who love one another.”

As negotiations continue on the Build Back Better legislation, people of faith urge swift passage on a bold bill that will advance racial equity, reduce child poverty, and transform our economy. Each hour of today’s 12-hour vigil is devoted to a specific issue in the Build Back Better Act including tax justice, immigration reform, paid family leave, the climate crisis, health care, and more.

 

Cosponsoring organizations include: Bread for the World, Center on Faith and Justice at Georgetown University, Church World Service, Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life, Creation Justice Ministries Faith in Public Life Action, Dayenu: A Jewish Call to Climate Action, Franciscan Action Network, Friends Committee on National Legislation, ICNA Council for Social Justice, Interfaith Power & Light, Leadership Conference of Women Religious, National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, National Council of Churches USA, National Religious Campaign Against Torture, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, Pax Christi USA, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Office of Public Witness, Religious Action Center, Sojourners, United Church of Christ Justice and Local Church Ministries

 

The vigil can be streamed at: https://fb.watch/8MdaiDz53f/ 

Earlier livestream: https://fb.me/e/2X7aVAE5v 

 

Photos available on request.

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