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Insights: Demand Changes to Tax Bill; Urgent Support for DACA

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December 15, 2017

Demand Changes to Tax Reform Bill

According to Congress’ own nonpartisan analysis, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act bills recently passed by the House and the Senate raises taxes on the poor and cut taxes on the rich, violating basic principles of justice. Congress has proposed a web of wide-ranging and complex changes to the tax code, yet is approaching the process at a pace that makes it difficult even for experts in the impacted areas to analyze effects. 

The sheer amount of policy changes contained in a single bill is staggering.  The fact that it was drafted without public hearings and hurriedly as Congress was pressed by artificial deadlines raises serious concerns about unintended consequences.  Finally, the lack of cooperation on this, and other issues, further polarizes our nation and ignores potentially good, bi-partisan problem-solving.

(Send a letter to your U.S. Senator and Congressmember now)

In letters to both the House and the Senate last month, the US Bishops outlined key moral principles that should be considered in any tax legislation. Given the passage of these bills and the unusual conference process now underway, the USCCB urged lawmakers in both houses and both parties to insist on several policies changes to ensure that a final tax bill is morally acceptable.

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Please Support DACA Young People

Unless Congress acts soon, the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program will expire on March 5, 2018. In order to make this program permanent, it is urgent that the U.S. House of Representatives pass legislation before the end of 2017. 

According to a new Quinnipiac University poll, roughly 84 percent of U.S. voters said DREAMers brought to the U.S. as children should be allowed to remain in the country. Almost 77 percent said they should be allowed to apply for citizenship. Among Republican voters, 70 percent said DREAMers should be allowed to remain in the U.S. and fifty-seven percent said they should have a chance at citizenship.

(Send letters to your representatives now supporting DACA.)

Bishops around the United States, and especially in California, are calling on all people of faith and good-will to contact their local representatives by phone, email or letter to urge them to do the right thing and support the DREAM Act and make the DACA protections permanent.

“Our elected officials know what they need to do. They need to know right now that we care — and that millions of voters care also,” said Archbishop Gomez of Los Angeles in a letter to all people of faith.

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Support Professional Development of Teachers

Congress is currently considering whether to fund or eliminate Title II-A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which deals with the professional development of teachers.  The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved $2 billion in funding for Title II-A, but the spending bill passed by the House provides no funding whatsoever for the program.

The California Catholic Conference supports teachers in all our schools – public, religious and private.  As Pope Francis has said: “Education…is critical for the future of society. How important it is for promoting the culture of encounter, respect for the dignity of each person and the absolute value of every human being!”

As negotiations on a final FY 2018 spending bill move forward, please encourage your leaders, appropriators, and conference committee members to fund Title II-A at $2 billion to help teachers across the country improve their capacity to educate the children in their care.

Click here to send a letter now to encourage your leaders, appropriators, and conference committee members to fund Title II-A. 

 

His Holiness Pope Francis’ Message for World Day of Peace

“In a spirit of compassion, let us embrace all those fleeing from war and hunger, or forced by discrimination, persecution, poverty and environmental degradation to leave their homelands,” writes Pope Francis in the this year’s World Day of Peace message.

In his statement, the Holy Father speaks of the “over 250 million migrants worldwide, of whom 22.5 million are refugees.” He also cites Pope Benedict XVI’s referral to these individuals as those “who are searching for somewhere to live in peace.”

The World Day of Peace is January 1.  Popes traditionally release the message a couple of weeks prior.

Read the statement in its entirety here.

 

Charter for the Protection of Young People and Children

The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People is a comprehensive set of procedures established by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in June 2002 for addressing allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy. The Charter also includes guidelines for reconciliation, healing, accountability, and prevention of future acts of abuse. 

If you have any questions on the measures the Catholic Church has put into place to protect children or you have any suspicious activity to report, every archdiocese and diocese in the state has a Safe Environment Coordinator to contact.  You can find a list on our Protecting Our Children page.

December 15, 2017
Vol. 10, No. 36