President Focuses on Employment in State of the Union
In his third State of the Union address last Tuesday night, President Obama recapped a tumultuous year on Capitol Hill and laid out his proposals for 2012, calling on Congress to work with him to increase employment and stimulate the economy. Obama highlighted new partnerships that are helping retrain workers for new jobs, saying “It’s time to turn our unemployment system into a reemployment system that puts people to work.”
Entitled “An America Built to Last,” the President’s 64-minute address also touched on a number of other issues, including his hopes that Congress would pass legislation that provided a path to citizenship for those who were brought to the country illegally. In a statement issued in response to the President’s speech, Catholic Charities USA’s President, Fr. Larry Snyder, said it was heartening to hear “the initiatives outlined by President Obama in this evening's State of the Union speech that have the potential to improve the lives of many.” However, Fr. Snyder added, “we need comprehensive reform of the nation’s service delivery system that is market driven, results oriented and locally controlled, enabling the country to permanently make a difference in the lives of those living in poverty, and establishing accountability for the investment of taxpayer dollars.” For the complete response from CCUSA to the State of the Union, please click here.
Catholic Charities USA Responds to HHS Decision
On Friday, January 20, the Department of Health and Human Services issued a decision that will require faith-based institutions such as hospitals, charities, and schools to provide women’s health coverage that includes contraception, sterilization, and abortifacient drugs. While the administration had been petitioned to not include religious health plans in their regulations, the decision could require religious institutions to provide health care coverage that violates their beliefs.
In response, Fr. Larry Snyder released a statement on behalf of the Catholic Charities network. “Catholic Charities agencies are first and foremost Catholic institutions - a manifestation of the Gospel call for charity and justice for all people. As such, remaining faithful to Catholic teaching is not a matter of choice, rather it is essential to our identity. With the existing restrictive definition in this mandate, the ministry of Jesus Christ himself would not be considered a religious entity.” To read the statement in its entirety, please click here.
For more information on the HHS regulation, its impact on our network, or Catholic Charities’ response, please contact Candy Hill, Sr. Vice-President of Social Policy & Government Affairs, at chill@CatholicCharitiesUSA.org
House Disapproves of Debt Limit Increase
In other news from Capitol Hill, the Senate voted to reject consideration of a joint resolution that would have blocked President Obama’s request to increase federal borrowing, which will allow the way for a $1.2 trillion increase in the nation’s debt ceiling. Earlier in the week, the House voted 239-176 largely along party lines to prevent President Obama from raising the debt limit. The largely symbolic vote provides opponents of the August debt limit deal another chance to disapprove of the administration’s fiscal policies. The $1.2 trillion increase is the third in a multiple-stage process for raising the debt put in place by Congress.
For more information on upcoming legislation, please contact Ron Jackson, Sr. Director of Government Affairs, at RJackson@CatholicCharitesUSA.org
“Keep the Dream Alive Mass” Honors Memory of Martin Luther King, Jr.
On the holiday that commemorates his life, Catholic Charities USA and Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington helped keep the dream of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., alive through prayer, service, and song. On Monday, January 16, CCUSA held the “Keep the Dream Alive” Mass and Award Ceremony, honoring three contemporary heroes who have worked to realize King’s vision of nation free of injustice.
CCUSA presented “Keep the Dream Alive” awards to USDA Under Secretary Kevin Concannon, former Washington, D.C., Mayor Anthony Williams, and former CCUSA Board Member Janet Pape for their advocacy and work to reduce poverty. Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington’s “Faith Does Justice” Award was presented to local television anchor Andrea Roane.
Following the event, more than 50 individuals volunteered with women who reside at the Harriet Tubman Women’s Emergency Shelter in southeast D.C. Volunteers worked one-on-one with women on an art project designed to allow clients to express their dreams and what Dr. King means to them. For more information on the Keep the Dream Alive Mass and Awards, please contact Ron Jackson, Sr. Director of Government Affairs, at RJackson@CatholicCharitesUSA.org
is a publication of the Social Policy Department of Catholic Charities USA
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