Catholic Lobby Celebrates Rescue Plan Passage, Condemns Failure to Raise the Wage

For Immediate Release: March 8, 2021
Contact: Lee Morrow, lmorrow@networklobby.org, 202-601-7856

Catholic Lobby Celebrates Rescue Plan Passage, Condemns Failure to Raise the Wage
Sr. Simone: “This is not ‘mission accomplished,’ this is just the beginning of what we must accomplish to build anew.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Catholic Sisters and advocates of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice applaud the Senate for passing the American Rescue Plan Act, the COVID-19 relief package that will fund vaccine distribution, provide economic security to struggling families, and cut child poverty in half this year. This legislation will help our vulnerable communities survive the deadly pandemic, and all the advocates who helped pass it should be proud. But our work is not done.

The House version of this package included a federal minimum wage increase from the current $7.25 to $15 an hour. This is exactly what our essential workers need, but that provision was removed by the Senate Parliamentarian. Catholic Social Justice teaches that work is more than a way to make a living; it is a form of continuing participation in God’s creation, and workers should earn enough to support their families in a single job. That has never been clearer than right now, when essential workers are putting their health at risk to help us all survive the pandemic. Congress must uphold the dignity of workers and support a living wage immediately.

The Catholic Sisters and advocates of NETWORK celebrate the relief that millions of struggling families will receive from the American Rescue Plan. We call on the House to approve the final bill text and President Biden to sign it into law.

Sister Simone Campbell, SSS, Executive Director of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice:

“The American Rescue Plan will have an astonishing impact on our nation. Child poverty will be cut in half for one year. Families struggling because of the pandemic will be able to pay their bills and put food on the table. And vaccines will be able to reach every American. NETWORK members have struggled mightily to ensure that this legislation protects vulnerable people and promotes the common good. I am so proud of what we have accomplished.

“But one critical piece failed to make it to the final version of this bill. The $15 minimum wage was stripped out due to antiquated Senate rules. Thirty-two million minimum wage essential workers have put their health on the line to keep our nation running, and they need a living wage. Our Catholic faith calls us to insist that workers be able to support their families adequately on their salaries.

“So, this is not ‘mission accomplished,’ this is just the beginning of what we must accomplish to build anew.”

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NETWORK, a national Catholic Social Justice lobby, which educates, organizes, and lobbies for economic and social transformation, has a nearly 50-year track record of lobbying for critical federal programs that support those at the margins and prioritize the common good.