Washington, DC – Today, a broad coalition of faith groups joined Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Ron Wyden (D-OR) to call on Congress to pass the Build Back Better Act to bring down the biggest costs working families face – from housing to prescription drugs to childcare – and to substantially reduce child poverty in America through the extension of the Child Tax Credit.
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Wednesday’s press conference brought together Senators as well as leaders from various Christian, Jewish, and Muslim communities all attesting to the importance of the legislation to their communities, and the need for Congress to complete its work on the bill.
“We are all here as people of faith, who strive to live that faith and put our values into practice serving the public. That’s really what Build Back Better is all about – it’s about investing in and valuing workers and their families, and putting them at the center of our economy. It’s about raising wages, creating jobs, and bringing down costs for families. It will help workers’ – ALL workers’ – hard work pay off, and help them keep up with the cost of living,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH).
“For parents across the country childcare is unaffordable, unavailable—and absolutely essential. I’ve heard from parents—of all faiths—who are tired of asking: ‘Is it worth me going back to work if I have to pay as much as rent or mortgage or college tuition to send my child to a provider I trust?’ And I’ve heard from religious childcare providers and faith leaders that are urging us to get this done so they can better support their communities,” said Senator Patty Murray (D-WA). “Because that is was Build Back Better is about: getting parents the support they need to get back to work and making sure kids are getting quality care. This is critical to families. It is critical for rebuilding our country stronger and fairer. And Democrats are going to make sure we get it done.”
“It’s an honor to join pillars of our communities who are advocating for change that will create good jobs and offer more support for families across the country,” said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR). “There’s a sea change on the way when it comes to prescription drug prices. Build Back Better breaks down Big Pharma’s castle gates that have been protecting outrageous profit margins for too long. Medicare negotiation authority, limits on price gouging, an out-of-pocket cap for seniors and a cap on insulin costs will go a long way to helping families. There’s more work to do to ensure all families see lower drug prices at the pharmacy counter, and I plan to keep at it.”
“Ours is a tradition that takes seriously how sin is embedded in our systems and structures,” said NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice’s Executive Director, Mary J. Novak. “Without immediate action to extend the Child Tax Credit before leaving for the holidays, the Senate risks throwing nearly 10 million American children below the poverty line, deeper into poverty - and that is sinful.”
“The Build Back Better Act is an essential bill that will invest in and help address the enduring health and economic disparities exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, keep children out of poverty, begin to mitigate the looming climate crisis, support childcare and pre-k education, provide paid family and medical leave, and more,” said Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism’s Director, Rabbi Jonah Pesner. “Judaism teaches us to ‘speak up, judge righteously, champion the poor and the needy (Proverbs 31:9)’ These words inspire our commitment to supporting the millions of families struggling to put food on the table, keep a roof over their heads, manage medical expenses, care for family members, or enjoy equitable access to education that allows people to fulfill their potential.”
“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,” said National Association of Evangelicals’ VP of Government Relations, Galen Carey.
“During Advent I love to reflect up on the prophet Isiah who prophesizes, ‘For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6).’ I’m grateful that the government is on his shoulders. But in this moment- passing BBB is on our shoulders, it’s on Congress’ shoulders,” said Rev. Adam Russell Taylor, President of Sojourners. “So the most burning question before us in these last days before Christmas is, will Congress be the Scrooge that denies and discontinues monthly child tax credit checks, which expire today- and provide a lifeline of support to kids and families? Will Congress be the Grinch who steals Christmas hope, or will you be the ones who spread and multiply hope by passing the BBB?”
“In this Advent season- members of Congress have an urgent opportunity, I would even argue a responsibility, to provide hopeful good news to kids, families, and communities across this country by passing the Build Back Better Act,” said Sojourners’ President, Adam Taylor. “In this Advent season the Build Back Better Act represents one the most pro-family and pro-common good set of policies that we have seen in a generation.”
The following groups joined the press conference:
Faith in Public Life, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Disciples Center for Public Witness (Disciples of Christ), NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church, Sojourners, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice (UUSJ), National Council of Churches
To learn more, please visit www.fcnl.org.