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FCNL’s strategic lobbying gets results. From the creation of the Peace Corps and passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, FCNL has been pivotal to some of our country’s landmark legislation. Our power stems from the integrity of our positions, our effective lobbying in Washington, and our committed grassroots network.
In this section
Working Together for Change
Pivoting to Peace
468 miles: The distance FCNL lobbyists walked to and from their 233 Senate and 269 House visits in 2016 – equivalent to a hike from DC to Cincinnati.
The Trump administration’s aggressive foreign policy stances and efforts to increase military spending threaten decades-long efforts on forward-looking prevention of deadly violence. FCNL is working to counteract this trend. Administration and congressional decision-makers are reading the report of the bipartisan Experts Committee on Preventing Mass Violence, which we convened last year. The report recommends concrete steps to continue and expand U.S. leadership on preventing mass atrocities. Meanwhile, Republican and Democratic senators are working with us to ask hard questions of the administration and introduce legislation to support U.S. genocide and atrocities prevention efforts.
Strengthening and Growing our Advocacy Community
Thousands of new advocates are turning to FCNL for action and skills. We’re using our decades of experience in relationship-focused advocacy to train and empower people looking to effectively influence and change U.S. policies. This work is bringing concerns for peace and justice to an increasing number of congressional offices. Our Advocacy Teams are thriving in almost 40 communities across the country, and we continue to launch new groups to build durable connections with members of Congress and persuade them to support key legislation. In 2016, the number of FCNL community members lobbying in person grew by 50 percent. In combination with our thriving Washington, DC lobby days and online resources and trainings to help people be effective advocates, we expect to exceed this growth in 2017.
Immigration: Welcoming the Stranger
761 hours: The time volunteer advocates spent meeting with Congress in 2016. That’s more than a month in congressional offices.
As the Trump administration emphasizes enforcement and militarized borders, FCNL is building bipartisan support in Congress for compassionate immigration policies. We chair the Interfaith Immigration Coalition, leading lobbying among the faith community to ensure offices hear these voices strongly. We are working closely with Republican and Democratic senators to advance the bipartisan BRIDGE Act to protect young immigrants. The 18 young adults in our Advocacy Corps have brought more than 180 people into local congressional offices to share their stories and encourage members of Congress to speak against detrimental proposals and in favor of compassionate policies.
Moving Congress on Climate Change
Our moral call for action on climate change has opened a political space in Washington for lawmakers to acknowledge the danger of inaction and discuss positive solutions. In the 114th session of Congress, 17 Republicans cosponsored legislation that FCNL developed with former Rep. Chris Gibson (NY) calling on Congress to act on climate change. We are building support for similar legislation in 2017. Senators and representatives are increasingly interested in joining the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus, which brings members together across party lines to discuss ways to move forward on this issue.
Religious Freedom: Opposing a Muslim Ban
10 inches: The height of a printed stack of all the bills FCNL lobbied on in 2016.
While President Trump’s January executive order effectively banning travel from seven Muslim-majority countries has brought public attention to religious freedom issues, FCNL has been working steadily for nearly two years to raise concerns in Congress about this type of discrimination. We worked closely with Rep. Don Beyer (VA) in 2016 and this year to introduce legislation prohibiting the U.S. from denying admission based on religious beliefs. Our professional lobbyists and a coalition of more than 100 organizations are building strong relationships and cultivating congressional leaders in efforts to make religious discrimination untenable as a policy of the U.S. government.
Economic Justice: Meeting Human Needs
Congressional decisions in 2017 could lay the groundwork to transform the government’s role in ensuring access to basic necessities for everyone in the U.S. Our lobbying is focused on stopping the policy changes that are steps along this path. As an organization and through our leadership in faith coalitions, we are part of a national mobilization to emphasize the detrimental effects of repealing the Affordable Care Act without a comparable replacement. At the moment that health care and funding for programs such as Medicaid and SNAP (food stamps) will be before Congress, our Spring Lobby Weekend is bringing more than 400 college students to Washington to lobby on these issues.
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