National Faith Leaders Demand Swift Passage of Build Back Better Without Harmful Amendments

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

 

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Austin Schuler, aschuler@faithinpubliclife.org | 540-280-3393

 

National Faith Leaders Demand Swift Passage of Build Back Better Without Harmful Amendments

 

National faith leaders send letter to members of Congress urging immediate passage of the Build Back Better Act without any harmful amendments. 

 

Washington, DC – National faith leaders from across the country, of varying faith traditions are urging the expeditious passage of the Build Back Better Act (H.R. 5367) to support a truly comprehensive COVID recovery, without harmful and unnecessary amendments reducing the efficacy of the bill. 

 

In a letter from faith leaders sent to the Hill Tuesday, they call on Members of Congress to move quickly in passing Build Back Better legislation, to ensure a comprehensive, equitable economic recovery. The letter reads in part: 

 

“The Build Back Better Act contains a once-in-generation opportunity to help heal this country from its long-standing injustices and inequalities that were exposed by the COVID crisis and subsequent economic crisis. The provisions in this bill would advance us towards a society where every person can live with dignity.”

 

“Members of Congress must not delay in passing what would be the most crucial, human dignity supportive legislation we’ve seen for the average American in quite some time,” said Faith in Public Life CEO, Rev. Jennifer Butler. “As we progress through the holidays, legislators must move in the spirit of the season to pass Build Back Better, and do so without making harmful amendments that leave people out on their own.” 

 

With significant expansions to the Earned Income and Child Tax Credits, investments in childcare, universal pre-K, housing assistance, nutrition assistance, paid family leave, medical leave and healthcare, Build Back Better stands to provide historic levels of support to communities hard hit by COVID. The bill would also put over half a trillion dollars towards clean energy to address the climate crisis, while paying for investments by raising taxes on wealthy individuals and corporations, bringing more fairness and equity to the United States’ tax code.

 

Signers offered the following quotes in affirmation of the letter:

 

Michele Dunne, Executive Director, Franciscan Action Network

“As Franciscans, we are called to solidarity with the most vulnerable in our society including children, the elderly, and those lacking adequate healthcare. All will receive help through the Build Back Better legislation, as will our wounded earth. As a mother, I am thrilled to see universal pre-K from age 3, which will be a life-changing investment in our children’s development as well as a great practical help to their parents. We hope this legislation is the first step in investing in healthcare, education, the environment, and a social safety net that fully protects all Americans and we pray that members of the US Congress will prioritize care for the vulnerable and for the earth as they cast their votes.”

 

Mary J. Novak, Executive Director, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice

“Recognizing the human dignity of every person, we are called to end our country’s racial economic disparities, which have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The House-passed Build Back Better Act helps shape a future that is more racially equitable and economically just. I join people of faith across the country calling on the Senate to pass the Build Back Better Act. Invest in our people, invest in our shared future, and invest in our common home. Pass Build Back Better.”

 

Sheila Katz, CEO National Council of Jewish Women

“Jewish tradition teaches us that all human life is precious and sacred and that everyone deserves to live and thrive. However, COVID-19 laid bare ugly truths about our society that run counter to these values - women and women of color, the groups hit hardest by the pandemic, were forced to leave the workforce in droves to care for their families. Now, we have a once in a generation opportunity to rebuild our economy — not just to where we were before the pandemic, but toward an economy that is truly inclusive and just for all people. The provisions in the Build Back Better Act are equally as essential to rebuilding our economy as revitalizing the streets we drive on every day. We urge the Senate to pass this bill to realize a future in which everyone can live their lives with dignity.” 

 

Fran Eskin-Royer, Executive Director, National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd

“With all that has become clearer during the pandemic, we must work ever harder to consider the needs of people of color, those living in poverty, and all those on the margins.  Each piece of legislation must be considered through a lens of inclusion and healing.  Our great country was built on the ideals of welcome and equal opportunity – let us do our part with the historic Build Back Better Act to ensure that disenfranchised groups have a place at the table. Please quickly pass an inclusive Build Back Better Act.”

 

Abby J. Leibman, President & CEO of MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger

“Congress must swiftly pass the Build Back Better Act, which includes historic investments in fighting hunger and poverty, particularly strengthening child nutrition programs. “Our Jewish values compel us to repair the brokenness of this world, to lift up the dignity of every human being and prevent people from falling into hardship by working to address systemic inequality. We know that strengthening programs like Pandemic-EBT and expanding the Child Tax Credit are proven to significantly reduce food insecurity — Congress must reject any attempts to weaken or undermine these provisions. Building back better is repairing the world — it’s knowing that we must not return to broken systems of the past, but find what works to create lasting, meaningful change.”

 

Diane Randall, General Secretary, Friends Committee on National Legislation

“The Build Back Better Act is a momentous step toward a society with equity and justice and an earth restored. It continues the historic expansions to the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit, which means fewer children living in poverty. The investments in housing assistance, health care, paid family and medical leave, childcare, and pre-k will strengthen our society’s support of families and children. Additionally, the framework provides critical protections to immigrant communities that have suffered from congressional inaction for decades. The investment of hundreds of billions of dollars to address climate change through significant funding for clean energy incentives and clean technology is an essential step to reduce this country’s reliance on fossil fuels. This package goes farther than any other in recent history to invest in people and their well-being. I urge the Senate to pass the Build Back Better Act immediately on these long-sought reforms with the intention of always asking how government can best serve all people.”

Rev. Dr. Susan Frederick-Gray, President, Unitarian Universalist Association

"We urge the Senate to pass the Build Back Better Act before they go on recess, and without any amendments that will harm our communities. We Unitarian Universalists hold sacred our principle that every human being is worthy of dignity and respect. We believe we have a shared responsibility to create just systems so that all people can thrive. The Build Back Better Act offers a historic opportunity to reduce poverty and expand healthcare and childcare. The provisions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect undocumented immigrants are important for everyone’s wellbeing. We call on the administration and Congress to further expand climate protections, making substantial and just investments in renewable energy to preserve our future, and our children’s future. This legislation is fundamental because it increases the life chances for all and begins to address the racial and economic disparities laid bare by COVID. Our elected leaders must pass this bill because it outlines a critical path forward for our country.

 

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

“Faith teaches us that every person is precious and reminds us that we are responsible for our common home. The Build Back Better Act is transformative legislation that focuses on the common good and care for God’s creation. We urge members of Congress to pass a robust bill that reflects the values of our faith and the ideals of our nation.”

 

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Faith in Public Life Action is a national movement of clergy and faith leaders united in the prophetic pursuit of justice, equality and the common good. Together, with a network of over 50,000 leaders, they are leading the fight to advance just policies at the state and federal level that affirm our values and the human dignity of all.