in Pennsylvania's First Congressional District's_1st_congressional_district
and the Central Garden State

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Federal and International Issues (5/13/17 update)

Some Federal Issues of Particular Concern to Our Bishops

"The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 7, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act....Urge our Senators to support H.R. 7 to permanently protect our tax dollars from paying for or promoting elective abortions." 
"Now is the time to contact Congress and advocate for the protection of life and freedom of conscience."
"We know it is important to say, 'thank you' when a member votes for life as they often only hear criticism after a courageous vote. It is equally important that those who did not vote with us be aware that we are paying attention and that we expect better in the future."

On the USCCB web site, the reminder remains for us to 
"Urge President Trump to Sign Executive Order Respecting Religious Freedom"
President Trump's 5/4/17 Executive Order falls far short  of the USCCB's very specific request.

Tell Your Representative to Insist on Changes to the American Health Care Act 
"While the AHCA, laudably, restricts funding which flows to abortion providers and prohibits federal funding for abortion or the purchase of plans that cover abortion, it also makes changes that would result in loss of affordable coverage for those on the margins....[While it acknowledges that we should] "Retain the AHCA's life protections for the unborn"...[it notes that Congress needs to] "Add conscience protections for those who participate in the delivery or coverage of health care services and against mandates like the contraception and sterilization regulatory requirement from the DHS."
  • "'That the American Health Care Act limits Medicaid funds to entities that don’t kill people is entirely appropriate, not to mention a step that’s long overdue,' said Father Frank Pavone, national president of Priests for Life.  'Sending hundreds of millions of dollars a year to an organization that dismembers 320,000 unborn babies a year adds up to a travesty of justice,' he added. 'The Senate should approve the defunding legislation as soon as possible and send it to the president’s desk. The scam of using public money to prop up abortion businesses needs to be terminated" (Catholic Herald, 5/6/17)

Say, Hasn't the Church Also Said a Few Things about Marriage/Family/Sexuality, Already?

 "The Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act (CWPIA) protects the religious liberties of child welfare service providers, including adoption and foster care agencies.  The Act would prohibit the federal government and any state that receives certain federal funding from discriminating against child welfare service providers on the basis that they decline to provide a child welfare service that conflicts with their sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions....The Inclusion Act has been introduced in both the House (H.R. 1881) and the Senate (S. 811)."

 Catholic Social Teaching/International Issues

"An estimated 58,000 Haitians are at risk of having their Temporary Protected Status (TPS) terminated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). TPS allows these individuals to temporarily remain in the United States and support themselves legally while Haiti is being rebuilt.  Haiti is still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Matthew, which struck in October 2016 and is said to be the nation's largest humanitarian emergency since the 2010 earthquake. Additionally, Haiti is plagued with a severe cholera epidemic and food shortages.
 "Israelis should not have to live in fear of Hamas' indiscriminate rocket attacks on civilian areas. At the same time, Palestinians should not have to live in fear for their lives from air and ground attacks or to suffer the humiliations of occupation....In August 2015, Israel's Supreme Court granted approval for the building of a separation barrier through the pristine Cremisan Valley. The Cremisan Valley lies in the West Bank on the Palestinian side of the Green Line, adjacent to Beit Jala and Bethlehem. The separation barrier through the Cremisan Valley will have devastating effects for the local community, confiscating Palestinian agricultural and recreational lands of over 50 Christian families. This threatens the livelihoods of the remaining Christian community of Bethlehem....The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has long supported a two-state solution, secure and recognized Israel living in peace alongside a viable and independent Palestinian state. USCCB asks you to urge Congress to press Israeli authorities to stop the work on the Separation Wall in the Cremisan Valley."

Please Support the BRIDGE ACT and DACA Youth
"The BRIDGE (Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy) Act, S.128/H.R. 496, was...introduced in Congress as a bipartisan effort to sustain the temporary relief from deportation and employment eligibility offered to youth through the Department of Homeland Security's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Under the BRIDGE Act, young people who came to the United States as children would maintain their eligibility to work and live in the U.S. without the fear of deportation and family separation so long as they meet certain requirements, such as showing a commitment to education or honorable service in our military and having no history of serious crime."

Voice Your Support for Vulnerable Immigrants and Refugees
"As a concerned Catholic, I write to urge you to publicly support and consider co-sponsoring:
These bills would nullify or otherwise block implementation of President Trump's executive orders on border security, interior immigration enforcement, and refugee admissions. Such executive orders do not reflect the tenants of our faith, our country's values, or the principles of freedom, fairness, and compassion. I ask you to support the bills above in order to ensure that our country continues to welcome the stranger and treat all individuals – migrant or otherwise – with human dignity. Thank you."

We can ensure safety for refugees, including those from Syria, as well as their host communities.  As our noble efforts at assistance must not be hijacked, this blogger believes that communications MUST specifically state that contraceptives/abortifacients MUST be excluded from "assistance."

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