There’s much activity in Washington, D.C. as Congress works to pass an omnibus appropriations bill. The U.S. bishops’ conference is asking for your help on three issues:

  1. We still have the opportunity to stand up for the conscience rights of pro-life health care providers. The Abortion Non-Discrimination Act (ANDA) will close loopholes in existing law and provide a private right of action so that health care providers, whose freedom of conscience is denied, can defend their rights in court. Go to bit.ly/1dqkk8B to send a message.
  2. Some lawmakers are pushing to stop all resettlement of refugees from Syria and Iraq for a long time, but you can ask House and Senate leaders to help them instead. Go to bit.ly/1SMTCFK for more information.

Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, Chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration, urges that, instead of using tragedies “to scapegoat all refugees, I call upon our public officials to work together to end the Syrian conflict peacefully so the close to 4 million Syrian refugees can return to their country and rebuild their homes. Until that goal is achieved, we must work with the world community to provide safe haven to vulnerable and deserving refugees who are simply attempting to survive.”

Click here for the Iowa bishops’ statement on refugees.

  1. The Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit are among the most effective child antipoverty measures the federal government has. Last year alone they lifted over five million children out of poverty. It’s time to ask Congress to permanently extend these programs. Go to bit.ly/1O0rDVy for a sample message.

The Catholic bishops of the United States strongly support the EITC and CTC because, in addition to reducing poverty, they also promote work and family stability. Research shows that these supports for working parents also improve the school performance and physical health of their children.

PRESIDENT SIGNS THE EVERY STUDENT SUCCEEDS ACT

The chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Catholic Education, Archbishop George J. Lucas of Omaha, applauded President Obama’s signing of the Every Student Succeeds Act into law.

“The Every Student Succeeds Act demonstrates that there is broad bipartisan agreement on restoring equitable treatment of private schools and ensuring that all children are afforded the education services, benefits, and opportunities they deserve, regardless of the type of school they attend,” said Archbishop Lucas.

The Every Student Succeeds Act reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the federal law that provides funds to local and state education agencies for elementary and secondary education programs.

RSVP FOR MIDWEST MARCH FOR LIFE

The Midwest March for Life sponsored by Iowa Right to Life takes place in Des Moines on Saturday, Jan. 16. The day begins with Mass at St. Ambrose Cathedral with the Iowa bishops at 9:30 a.m. and concludes with educational workshops in the afternoon at the Iowa Events Center. For more information, or to RSVP, go to www.iowartl.org.

AND FINALLY,

During these unsettled times, let’s continue to pray for each other! Have a very blessed Advent.