Author Archives: colleen

Sisters Advocate for a Faithful Budget

Sisters Advocate for a Faithful Budget

Catherine Gillette
January 17, 2018

Congress is once again struggling to reach a deal on the federal budget in order to avoid a government shut-down.  With so many important programs and the lives of so many people on the line, NETWORK believes that passing a faithful budget is absolutely essential. And we are not alone in that belief.

This past fall, NETWORK collected nearly a thousand letters written by Catholic sisters to House Speaker Paul Ryan about the federal budget. While the sisters come from different congregations, live in different parts of the country, and work on many different issues, the underlying message of their letters was the same: our federal budget must prioritize programs that help our nation’s most vulnerable people.

In December, Sister Erica Jordan, OP and Sister Ruth Brings, SSSF (both Speaker Ryan’s constituents) flew from Wisconsin to Washington, D.C. to meet with Speaker Ryan’s Deputy Chief of Staff and deliver the letters.  Shortly after they already arrived in D.C., their meeting was abruptly canceled.  They flew back to Wisconsin without being able to share their concerns or the collected letters with Speaker Ryan’s office.

Fortunately, the story doesn’t end there.

NETWORK is committed to working with Members of Congress and our partners to ensure that these stories are lifted up and the letters, delivered. We call on Speaker Ryan and the rest of Congress to listen to these faithful voices and pass a faithful budget.

Here are just a few of the voices and issues raised up in the letters we received:

“Tax cuts for the wealthy do not serve the needs of the most vulnerable and marginalized.  This year, natural catastrophic storms have devastated and impacted thousands of people.  How will your tax cuts rebuild these lives and communities that we know from past storm experience take 5 to 10 years for full recovery? Will these homeless families truly benefit from your budget plans?” –Sister Roberta Feil, SC

“Catholic Social Justice requires all of us to act as our sisters’ and brothers’ keepers.  One way we can meet the needs of our human family is by ensuring all people have access to quality, affordable healthcare.” –Sister Kathleen Quigley, SC

“I have witnessed first-hand the violent and senseless ripping away of parents from their children by ICE.  These are people who are hard-working and contributing members of our church and communities.  Every family deserves stability and security and children in our nation should not have to live with the fear that their parents could be taken from them at any moment.  I urge you to reject additional funding for border enforcement, including but not limited to building a border wall.  As a nation of immigrants, we are called to welcome the stranger and love our neighbor.” –Sister Sharon Costello, CSJ

“I am asking you to promote a federal budget that is a reflection of the values of the nation and the principles of Catholic Social Teaching.  The federal budget is a moral document that reflects the priorities of the nation.  A budget worthy of this nation must prioritize human needs programs, ensure funding to care for the vulnerable members of society, restore economic opportunities, and invest in the common good.” –Sister Colleen Dauerbach, SSJ

Finally, before leaving Washington, Sisters Erica and Ruth took the time to share their message to Speaker Ryan with us at the NETWORK office. Watch the video below:

Remembering Sister Catherine Pinkerton, CSJ

Remembering NETWORK Lobbyist Sister Catherine Pinkerton, CSJ

The NETWORK Staff
January 3, 2018

“Catherine is a woman of vision—and is led by a vision of what God desires of us—justice, truth, and a dignified life.” (Ann Curtis, RSM)

“We really cannot measure the value of her service to women religious in the United States and in the world.” (Miriam Therese Larkin, CSJ)

“Catherine knows in her bones how Washington works and whom to talk with to get something accomplished…her leadership is a unique blend of friendship and astute analysis.” (Simone Campbell, SSS)

Former Network Director Sr. Kathy Thornton RSM wrote: “It is perhaps on Capitol Hill that [Catherine] has had the strongest impact, commanding attention with her intelligence and unwavering determination as an advocate for those unduly burdened by the injustices of society. …  Catherine has become a formidable presence in the halls of Congress.

Jean Stokan, policy director of Pax Christi USA:  “When Catherine walks the halls of Congress, she parts waters. Heads turn and useless chatter ceases when she enters a room.”

 (Tributes to Catherine Pinkerton when she received the 2006 LCWR Outstanding Leadership Award )

On December 28, 2017, Sister Catherine Pinkerton, CSJ passed away in Cleveland surrounded by the local CSJ community. Catherine Pinkerton was a sister of St. Joseph for 78 years. She served as the president of both her congregation and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), was involved in other organizations of women religious, and received the LCWR Outstanding Leadership Award in 2006.

As a skilled NETWORK lobbyist for more than 25 years, Catherine traveled the halls of Congress time and time again to speak truth to power. Catherine’s personality and her dedication to working for justice inspired the NETWORK community and earned her the esteem and friendship of political greats. In 2008, Sister Catherine Pinkerton was invited to deliver the benediction at the 2008 Democratic National Convention (watch a video of the benediction).

At Catherine’s wake, Sister Simone Campbell reflected on how Catherine’s perseverance and lobbying for comprehensive healthcare reform during the Clinton administration had prepared the way for the Affordable Care Act. Sister Simone shared how happy Catherine was to see it passed just before she retired in 2010.

When efforts to craft comprehensive healthcare legislation faltered in the 1990s, Sister Catherine Pinkerton became a passionate advocate for the Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provides health coverage for children in families that earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to afford health insurance. CHIP was passed in 1997 and has enjoyed bipartisan support since then. Unfortunately, at this moment CHIP lacks any long term federal funding, and states are beginning to prepare for the inevitable end of their CHIP programs if Congress fails to renew funding as quickly as possible. Right now, sixteen states expect to run out of money for CHIP by the end of January.

In her eulogy for Catherine Pinkerton, Christine Schenk, CSJ, admonished all who were gathered to call their members of Congress to ask for full funding for CHIP and a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers. As Christine said: “I’m serious—Catherine would come back to haunt me if I didn’t lobby for children on her behalf!”

In honor of Sister Catherine Pinkerton’s life and work, advocate for justice today:

I Can See God and Justice Because of the Open Internet

I Can See God and Justice Because of the Open Internet

Cheryl Leanza
December 11, 2017

 “I can’t stand with you and join you in your struggle if I haven’t heard your story. “
— Rabbi Sharon Brous

Some of the most influential people in my life are people I’ve never met—or met only once.  I’m a white, cis-gendered, middle class, almost-50, married mother of two with a passion for justice and an ever-expanding appreciation of the beauty of God in the world and of the amazing people who have walked before me on a path of faith-inspired justice.  I can do this work, in part, because I’ve listened, over and over again, to narratives and videos that bring tears to my face from folks who I visit on the Internet but whose stories I otherwise would have missed.

I can learn about justice every day because people who would not be given the time of day by a media conglomerate can bear their souls, share their gifts, and invent new and more creative ways to speak to my heart on the Internet.

I remember listening to Cayden Mak, now Executive Director of 18 Million rising, speaking in 2014 about how the Internet literally saved his life. “Have you ever been young and queer and brown in the great American suburb?”  I haven’t.  But I can share, just a little bit, his story and bring it into my understanding of the world.

Evan Dolive, father and pastor in Texas, who wrote a book stemming from his outrage thinking about Victoria’s Secret marketing sexy underwear to middle schoolers.  We spoke once, a few years back, but I get his blogs every week online and while he lives so far away, the perspectives we share are clear to me over the Internet.

Rev. Ashely Harness and Rev. Lawrence Richardson, both who publish at the Salt Collective—maybe we crossed paths once in person in Cleveland at the United Church of Christ headquarters.  But from then on, I’ve been such a fan, following on Twitter and Facebook, taking in everything from tips on how to write an op-ed rooted in justice and faith, to cheering on Lawrence’s efforts to help care for his precious nephews.  A glimpse of the divine in each of them—on the Internet.

And my great Faithful Internet co-founder Valarie Kaur, who, drawing on her journey as a Sikh activist, made the most beautiful speech in New York this New Year’s, alongside Rev. William Barber.

She told me and a few million others—over the Internet—that the darkness of right now is the darkness of the womb, not the darkness of the tomb.  When times seem darkest, replaying that video can get you through.  She’ll tell you that her new Revolutionary Love project would not be possible without the open Internet.

All these stories are part of the work we do to build a more just world.  The Internet is part of the basic building blocks of our work—just like the road outside the front door which takes us to a community meeting, spirit-lifting worship, or to our neighbor’s house to bring chicken soup in the dead of winter.

I’ve been working in media justice for more than 20 years, and critical analysis of media has always come down to this (to mangle Marshall McLuhan):  whoever owns the medium controls the message.  Open Internet policies, protected by net neutrality, mean that whoever owns the medium cannot control the message.  An ISP cannot charge more for video to flow without buffering—if it’s good enough for NBC, it’s good enough for all of us.

This December people all over the country are taking action to speak out for real Net Neutrality. President Trump’s communications regulator has scheduled a vote for December 14 to repeal Net Neutrality. We must #StopTheFCC before then. Over 750,000 people have called Congress. People are protesting at over 600 locations. Organizations with web sites will #BreaktheInternet on December 12. And on December 14, I’ll join a Wake Up Call Rally in Washington DC. We’re all proclaiming the need to protect the fundamental structure of the Internet — which has been with us from the beginning, but is under threat today.

If you can do only 1 thing to help: Join the over 750,000 people who have called Congress.

Congress can slow down the FCC vote or even force it to abandon the vote altogether. Key lawmakers sympathetic to the cause are considering stepping in to do just that — a few have spoken out already.

The faith community understands the power of story. The Faithful Internet campaign is working to bring that voice to the policy-makers at the Federal Communications Commission who are threatening to turn the Internet over to network owners. Visit FaithfulInternet.org where you can learn more and see testimonials from Rev. Otis Moss III, Linda Sarsour, Sister Simone Campbell and Rev. William Barber to name just a few.

The work of healing the world is taking place on the Internet. And that work should not have to bear an additional burden of languishing in an Internet slow lane, waiting until someone pays an additional toll to release it, full force, into the world.

Cheryl A. Leanza serves as policy advisor to the United Church of Christ’s historic media advocacy ministry, UCC OC Inc., www.uccmediajustice.org, advocating for media and communications policies that empower people of color, women, the LGBTQ community and all historically disenfranchised people. She is the co-creator of the UCC’s Faithful Internet net neutrality campaign and has lead successful public policy campaigns on low power community radio and ending predatory prison phone rates. The UCC’s workshops on media literacy and online hate speech have helped youth and adults to see media portrayals with new eyes, recognizing the inherent divinity of all people.
This blog was originally published at The Salt Collective.

Legislative Update: Republican Representatives Call for a Solution for Dreamers

Republican Representatives Call for a Solution for Dreamers

Sana Rizvi
December 6, 2017

On December 5, just days after Representatives Carlos Curbelo (R-FL-26) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL-27) said they refused to pass a budget that does not include a solution for Dreamers, 34 House Republicans led by Representative Scott Taylor (VA-02)  sent Speaker Paul Ryan a letter asking him to pass a permanent legislative solution for DACA before the end of the year. The letter acknowledges the numerous contributions DACA recipients have made to our country and recognizes the urgent need for a solution.

Moreover, the Representatives write that they realize the urgency needed is driven by fear for the most vulnerable in our communities:

“We are compelled to act immediately because many DACA recipients are about to lose or have already lost their permits in the wake of the program’s rescission. Not acting is creating understandable uncertainty and anxiety amongst immigrant communities.

We must pass legislation that protects DACA recipients from deportation and gives them the opportunity for a more secured status in our country as soon as possible. Reaching across the aisle to protect DACA recipients before the holidays is the right thing to do.”

Read more: Letter to Speaker Ryan from 34 Republicans Asking for A DACA Fix Before the End of This Year

The Speaker has yet to reply to the letter and government funding is set to end this Friday, December 8. NETWORK continues to fully endorse the Dream Act as the bipartisan, bicameral solution for DACA recipients which provides Dreamers with a pathway to citizenship and protects them from deportation. We express gratitude to the 34 Republicans who led this letter and ask them to honor their commitments and pass a Dream Act before the end of this year.

The letter’s signers:

Representative Scott Taylor
Representative Dan Newhouse
Representative Mia Love
Representative Mark Amodei
Representative David Valadao
Representative Dave Reichert
Representative Brian Fitzpatrick
Representative Mike Coffman
Representative Charlie Dent
Representative Frank Lobiondo
Representative Peter T. King
Representative Carlos Curbelo
Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
Representative Ryan A. Costello
Representative Fred Upton
Representative Jeff Denham
Representative Rodney Davis
Representative John J. Faso
Representative John Katko
Representative Chris Stewart
Representative Susan W. Brooks
Representative Adam Kinzinger
Representative Glenn Thompson
Representative Mike Simpson
Representative Mimi Walters
Representative Leonard Lance
Representative Pat Meehan
Representative Elise Stefanik
Representative Tom MacArthur
Representative Chris Smith
Representative Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon
Representative Joe Barton
Representative Will Hurd
Representative Bruce Poliquin

Our Advent Prayer: Let Us Support Children and Families in our Tax Policy

Our Advent Prayer: Let Us Support Children and Families in our Tax Policy

December 4, 2017

As we begin the season of Advent, we recall the time Mary and Joseph spent preparing for the birth of Jesus – time spent in joyful anticipation. Now, we wait in hopeful anticipation for Christ and strive to shape a world where all children are welcomed and cared for.

As we prepare for the coming of Jesus, we are reminded of children across the country whose lives are affected by federal policies. Throughout the weeks of Advent, NETWORK will explore the current policy situation of: the Dream Act, the Child Tax Credit, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and child care for working families. We will share a combination of reflections, prayers, and current news that will help us gain insight into how these policies impact children and their families. We hope you will join us on this journey during Advent while we prepare for the coming of the child Jesus!

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”   -John 1:14, NIV

Policy Basics: The Child Tax Credit

  1. The Child Tax Credit is one of the most effective anti-poverty programs in our nation. In 2016, it lifted approximately 2.7 million people out of poverty, including about 1.5 million children, and lessened poverty for another 12.3 million people, including 6.1 million children.
  2. The Child Tax Credit was created in 1997, and historically has had bipartisan support in Congress and from the White House.
  3. The Child Tax Credit includes a refundable component; if the value of the credit exceeds the amount of federal income tax a family owes, the family may receive part or all of the difference in the form of a refund check.  Therefore, many working families can benefit from the credit even if their incomes are so low that they owe little or no federal income tax in a given year.
  4. Research has found that boosting working families’ incomes, as the Child Tax Credit does, can expand opportunities for children, leading to better health, improved school performance, and eventually higher earnings in adulthood.

Source: The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

A Prayer to Support Children and Families

Dear Jesus,

Advent calls us to be alert to signs of a pending encounter with You.  When that glorious encounter occurs, may we be prepared to respond rightly.

Working together, we encountered You in vulnerable parents and children, and we provided for them.  Would that you might always meet us doing right, being mindful of You in our ways. (Isaiah 64:4)

It is not right for our policies to reward the wealthy while failing to extend the same support to struggling families. We cry out to You from the wilderness of disparate opportunity and pray that political leaders encounter You as they allocate hope to mothers and children. And would that You meet them doing right, being mindful of You in their ways. 

Clearly, proposals to prioritize some families over others based on immigration status affronts Your ways and must be opposed.  Encounter us, dear Jesus, as we struggle to hold leaders accountable to justice for all persons in our country. And would that You meet us doing right, being mindful of You in our ways.

Encounter us, oh Lord, encounter us!  And would that You meet us doing right, being mindful of You in our ways!

In Jesus’ name we pray.

Amen.

Written by Sr. Mary Ellen Lacy, D.C.

Our Challenging National Reality: Facing Our Failure to House Everybody

Our Challenging National Reality

Facing Our Failure to House Everybody
Simone Campbell, SSS
November 24, 2017

I live in Southwest Washington which 13 years ago when I moved in was an undiscovered portion of the District. Rents were affordable. There are housing projects across the street. It was a great multiracial, economically diverse part of town. Then development started with the Nationals’ baseball park and high rise luxury condominiums. When I moved in I had a clear view of the palisades on the other side of the Anacostia River. Now we are being hemmed in with construction of unaffordable condos. This has me worried. Where are low wage working families going to live?

This is not only a DC phenomenon. All of the cities I have visited have the same story. In Indianapolis at the Immigrant Welcome Center’s GED class, I heard of low wage working families being evicted from houses so the owners can sell them to developers. It was impossible for these families to find housing in their old neighborhood and they had to move out of the city.

In Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, I was shocked when I visited last year for the first time since 2012. The neighborhood is completely changed. New construction and restored historic buildings line the street. When we met with trainees at Venice on Vine restaurant in the old neighborhood, they spoke of how their community had changed. They were no longer able to live in the area. Services for low income families had moved to other areas. It was difficult to commute because public transit is so spotty and set up for the “old city” not the new reality.

In Milwaukee I met Billy and his wife who, after trying to live with their two sons in their car, decided to pool their salaries for rent and use food stamps and the free dining room at St. Benedict the Moor parish to feed their family. In San Jose, CA, the heart of Silicon Valley, I met parishioners who open their church parking lot/school playground every evening so that homeless families can park their car in a safe place for the night. Almost all of these “car families” have working parents.

In short, our neighborhoods are transforming before our eyes, and our housing policy cannot handle the current reality. We at NETWORK realized that if we are going to Mend the Gaps in income and wealth disparity, we must address housing policy. There needs to be a new burst of creativity to impact this twenty-first century reality.

Housing is one of those critical issues that has so many ripple effects. The value of housing stock affects property taxes and the amount of money available for local schools. Housing also affects the need for public transit and the ability to be near work. Urban housing policy affects the amount of “green space” and the sense of safety and serenity in a city. Housing affects the ability of families to live free from the fear of being homeless. In short, housing is at the heart of the health of our nation.

In the United States we pride ourselves on being problem solvers. However we are failing our communities on this housing dilemma. First we must begin to pay attention to what is actually happening in our cities, towns, and neighborhoods. Watch for both creative ideas and continuing problems. Talk to your neighbors and asked your local and federal representatives what they are doing to address our lack of safe, affordable housing.

And hold this issue in your reflective prayer. Let us ask the Spirit the question: “Where are you calling us to act in addressing the housing crisis?” Then share with us what you hear. I believe it will be like Elijah who waited for the word in the loud bluster, thunder and lightning and heard nothing. It wasn’t until the gentle breeze that the word of the Spirit came. Let us as a community be attuned to that “wee small voice” so we might find the way forward for the sake of our struggling family.

Originally published in Connection Magazine. Read the full issue here.

Interreligious Coalition Opposes H.R. 1

Interreligious Coalition Opposes House Republican Tax Bill

Laura Peralta-Schulte
November 16, 2017

Yesterday, the Interreligious Working Group on Domestic Human Needs, a coalition of faith-based organizations, sent a letter to the House of Representatives urging members to vote no on H.R. 1, the House Republican tax bill.

This immoral tax bill prioritize the wealthy at the expense of struggling communities and vulnerable families. It violates our call to care for the most marginalized and to work for the common good. We call on Congress to pass a just tax bill that asks everyone to pay their fair share to invest in our nation.

Read the text of the letter below, or download as a PDF.


November 14, 2017

Dear Speaker Ryan and Leader Pelosi:

As members of the faith community, we know that tax decisions are moral decisions. Taxation choices show who we preference as a nation and who pays the price.  These choices show who and what we care about as a nation. All of our faiths teach us that the center of our concern should be those at the economic margins of our society. Therefore, we, the interfaith community, are speaking with one voice.

We must oppose H.R. 1, the Tax Cut and Jobs Act, because the bill violates our faith values as well as the fundamental issues of tax fairness and fiscal discipline.

First, the Tax Cut and Jobs Act is fiscally irresponsible. It grows the deficit by $1.5 trillion dollars over ten years. Growing deficits and debt threatens not only the fiscal health of our country, but it also threatens future funding for the programs that help countless families put food on the table and provide for their children. This additional $1.5 trillion in lost revenues will lead directly to future cuts in critical anti-poverty programs and low-income services including Medicaid, SNAP, low-income housing assistance, and other critical services for families struggling to make ends meet. The tax system should be structured to support investments in programs that create economic opportunity and dignity for all, especially families struggling to make ends meet. This bill violates the moral responsibility to care for the vulnerable.

The Tax Cut and Jobs Act makes the tax code more regressive. The tax breaks included in the legislation are not targeted to low- and moderate-income individuals. Provisions such as repeal of the estate tax, lower rates for pass-through income, and lower tax rates for income between $480,000 and $1 million will give enormous benefit to those at the top. This proposal is the exact opposite of a moral mandate to focus on those who struggle the most.

At the same time low-income families are left out of the benefits of H.R. 1. The bill increases the Child Tax Credit, but without making the additional credit refundable or making any improvements for low-income households, 10 million children are completely left out of any benefit increase. We have grave concerns about the cuts to the Child Tax Credit and the American Opportunity Tax Credit for immigrant families. We also strongly oppose the way in which H.R. 1 inhibits low-income working families from accessing the EITC, arguably the most effective anti-poverty, pro-mobility program in the country. Yet again this bill fails a basic moral test.

Rather than cutting these key anti-poverty investments for working families, a morally faithful way forward would have Congress

  1. Expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit so that no worker is taxed into poverty,
  2. Expanding the Child Tax Credit for low income workers so that those who need the credit most benefit
  3. Expanding the American Opportunity Credit so that students can more easily afford higher education which is critical for success.

These are faithfully moral choices that Congress can make.

We call on Congress to put the needs of working families and struggling communities first in creating a just tax system.  All our faith traditions call us to prioritize struggling families and vulnerable communities in our laws and policies.  We respectfully ask you to ensure that any tax changes taken as part of our tax debate be based on principles of fairness and shared commitment to the common good.

Sincerely,

Alliance of Baptists

American Baptist Home Mission Societies

Bread for the World

Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, US

Dominican Sisters ~ Grand Rapids

Franciscan Action Network

Friends Committee on National Legislation

Interfaith Worker Justice

Islamic Relief USA

Jesuit Conference, Office of Justice and Ecology

Leadership Conference of Women Religious

MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger

National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd

National Council of Churches

NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice

The Poligon Education Fund

Faith Action Network – Washington State

Union of Reform Judaism

United Church of Christ, Justice & Witness Ministries

‘The United Methodist Church- General Board of Church and Society

Doing Good during the Holiday Season

Doing Good during the Holiday Season

Maggie Brevig
November 18, 2016

The holiday season is upon us and three uniquely American events are quickly approaching: Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. If family differences or rampant consumerism threaten to dampen your festive mood, one reason for hope is the emergence of #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving, on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.

#GivingTuesday is a movement to lift up the generosity of people worldwide on a coordinated day of giving. By using the power of social media and personal relationships, #GivingTuesday encourages ordinary people to come together and make a huge impact for nonprofit organizations. Last year, over 700,000 people in 71 countries donated online and sent #GivingTuesday messages on social media.

As an organization founded by Catholic sisters working directly with people and communities impacted by injustice, NETWORK’s mission is to transform the systems that cause individuals and families to struggle with poverty, lack of access to healthcare, broken immigration policies, and more. Every day members of the NETWORK community are working to mend the gaps and improve access and opportunity for all Americans. If you are inspired by NETWORK’s mission, I invite you to support NETWORK on #GivingTuesday, and encourage your family and friends to do the same!

While we may spend time on Thanksgiving reflecting on the people and experiences that have impacted our lives, #GivingTuesday invites us to think about how we can give of ourselves to support others. Where and how you choose to give is up to you. The most important part, is that you share your reason for giving with your social networks and encourage them to join you. I’m starting to make my list now, of the organizations I plan to support on #GivingTuesday, and I hope you join me in giving back after a long weekend of holiday celebrations!

Give Now

Congress Must Prioritize Affordable Child Care for Families

Congress Must Prioritize Affordable Child Care for Families

Tralonne Shorter
November 9, 2017

On September 14, two leading Congressional champions for children —Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA)—introduced the Child Care for Working Families Act (S. 1806/H.R. 3773). The bill would make high-quality child care affordable and accessible to lower- and middle-class families under 150 percent of the state median income level by capping costs at 7 percent of a family’s budget. The bill would focus on preparing 3- and 4-year-old children for kindergarten and make new investments in training child care professionals.

NETWORK supports this bill because our faith teaches us that children are a gift and blessing from God. Working families are stretched beyond their means and struggle to meet day-to-day expenses like housing and utility expenses. In 33 states child care costs rival college tuition.  Between 2007 and 2014 the median worker’s wages and compensation declined, respectively, by 4.0 and 1.9 percent. High-quality child care is simply unattainable for most families.  That is unacceptable. The Child Care for Working Families Act would help alleviate this burden on working families and help more children enter Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten on track and prepared to meet core competencies in reading and math.

There is growing support for the Child Care for Working Families Act including from: 28 Senators, 98 Representatives, and more than 20 national advocacy organizations.  Despite this strong support, the bill faces an uphill battle for passage since there is no support from Congressional Republicans. Additionally, the GOP-majority under the leadership of President Donald Trump, Speaker Paul Ryan, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has prioritized passing tax cuts for the super wealthy, raising the deficit by $1.5 trillion on the backs of our children and working families. The GOP tax reform legislation does very little to help working families who are desperately in need  of tax relief such as refundable tax credits for child care and housing.  The Child Care for Working Families is a better alternative to tax proposals that would widen the wealth and income gap, and we encourage Congress to pass S.1806/H.R. 3773. The joy of raising a family should not be overshadowed by the rising costs of child care.

Here are three ways for you to act:

  • Explore NETWORK’s position on Women and Families (Mend the Gaps)
  • Sign the Moms Rising Child Care for Working Families petition
  • Read Senator Patty Murray’s blog on why she introduced the Child Care for Working Families Act

Legislative Update: House Passes Partisan CHIP Bill

House Passes Partisan CHIP Bill

Lucas Allen
November 6, 2017

Last week, on Friday, November 3, the House passed H.R. 3922, the CHAMPIONING HEALTHY KIDS Act, by a vote of 242 – 174. The legislation includes much-needed funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Community Health Centers, and other healthcare programs. Unfortunately, it also included deep cuts to public health funding, risky changes to Medicaid and Medicare financing, and new barriers for families to access affordable health care coverage in the private marketplace. It is unacceptable to pay for children’s coverage with cuts that will hurt the health of others.

Tara Straw from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities analyzed one harmful aspect of the bill:

“The legislation’s shortened grace periods would hurt low- and moderate-income individuals and families who miss even part of a payment for any reason, such as a costly home or car repair. It would leave well-intentioned consumers with too little time to catch up on premiums when they fall behind and would lock people out of coverage for the rest of the year, raising the number of uninsured.

We shouldn’t take coverage away from other low-income people to pay for essential health priorities like extending CHIP, which provides health coverage for children in low- and moderate-income families, and funding for community health centers, which provide health care for more than 27 million people.”

Read more: Up to 688,000 Would Lose Insurance Under House Bill from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Now, it is up to the Senate to pass a bipartisan bill to extend funding for CHIP without the harmful offsets in the House bill. We urge them to pass the Keep Kids’ Insurance Dependable and Secure (KIDS) Act of 2017 in a bipartisan way. For health policy to serve the common good, we must not cut funding from one group to preserve coverage for another.