ELCA Advocacy, Washington D.C.
FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS: PRAYER, FASTING AND ACTION (#PrayFastAct):The next “For Such a Time” day of prayer, fasting and action with the Episcopal Church is Friday, July 21. This month, the presiding bishops of both churches urge action to protect funding for the U.S. International Affairs budget. Our country has a rich history of fighting extreme poverty and responding to humanitarian crises around the world. Although it’s less than 1 percent of the federal budget, foreign assistance has saved millions of lives and continues to do so today. With more than 20 million people at risk of starvation globally, and millions more displaced, the need for foreign assistance is as great as it has ever been.
As a church together, we ask our members of Congress to protect funding for international programs that provide relief and support livelihood for the poorest among us. Visit elca.org/PrayFastAct for resources and to learn how to take action.
HEALTH CARE IN CONGRESS: Senate leaders released their draft reform of the Affordable Care Act in late June. The Congressional Budget Office reported that under the current Senate proposal, 22 million people would lose their health coverage over 10 years – many from families who would choose to opt-out of health care after massive deductible increases. Like the House bill, the Senate version would also reduce Medicaid spending for low-income households, increase costs for people with pre-existing conditions in certain states, and roll back important improvements made for women, veterans and seniors.
Following announced opposition from other GOP senators, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pushed back the voting timeline until after the Fourth of July recess. Lawmakers will likely discuss the best way to proceed on health care as they go back to their home districts. ELCA Advocacy posted an action alert after the Senate bill was released, with over 1,000 Lutherans responding. With the members of Congress back in their districts, now is a critical time to contact them on health care.
IMMIGRATION: On June 16, Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly took back the Deferred Action for Parental Arrivals (DAPA) policy. DAPA, which was signed by President Obama and was never implemented, would have provided deportation relief for undocumented parents of U.S. citizens children. DAPA, signed by the Obama administration, was never implemented. Kelly also signaled that the original Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provides relief from deportation to thousands of young people who grew up in the U.S., will remain for the foreseeable future.
At the end of June, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review rulings from lower courts that blocked the implementation of President Trump’s executive order on refugees. In addition, the court granted the Trump administration’s request to allow a part of the travel ban that prevents citizens from six countries without ties to the U.S. to be denied entry into the U.S. ELCA Advocacy is coordinating with Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) to ensure our full support for the refugee resettlement program. You can read the full LIRS statement and action alert on the issue here.
WOMEN AND PEACE: On June 20, the House of Representatives passed the Women, Peace, and Security Act of 2017 (H.R. 2484), a bill requiring the U.S. government to promote meaningful participation of women in mediation and negotiation processes that seek to prevent, mitigate or resolve violent conflict. The bill will now go to the Senate for consideration. ELCA Advocacy is monitoring the bill and continues to support women’s inclusion in peace processes worldwide.
Lutheran Office for World Community
PLAN OF ACTION FOR RELIGIOUS LEADERS AND ACTORS TO PREVENT AND COUNTER INCITEMENT TO VIOLENCE THAT COULD LEAD TO ATROCITY CRIMES: On June 12, the World Council of Churches held a formal briefing with the U.N. Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect on the Global Plan of Action for Religious Leaders and Actors to Prevent and Counter Incitement to Violence that Could Lead to Atrocity Crimes.
The briefing focused on the role of faith-based organizations, religious entities, and religious actors in anticipation of the July 14 release of the Global Plan of Action, the first of its kind that addresses the role of religious leaders on prevention.
Simona Cruciani, the political affairs officer at the U.N. Office on Genocide Prevention, previewed and outlined the five regional consultations that have occurred since 2015 in which over 250 religious leaders in 80 countries participated in the creation of regional plans of actions.
There will be a half-session on implementation strategies for faith-based organizations on July 17 following the launch of Global Plan of Action on July 14.
Lutheran state advocacy efforts across the country
Find out all about the vast and incredibly important work and top priorities of Lutheran state advocacy networks across the country by visiting the ELCA Advocacy Blog.