from the ELCA advocacy office in Washington, D.C. – the Rev. Amy E. Reumann, Senior Director
Partial expanded content from Advocacy Connections: February 2022
2022 ELCA FEDERAL POLICY PRIORITIES: Our annual identification of policy priorities on the federal horizon for ELCA advocacy action is available. Find listing on the ELCA Advocacy Blog, with a downloadable version from the ELCA advocacy resource page. Shaped by the ELCA’s social teaching documents and the experiences of its congregations, ministries and partners, we advocate to end world hunger and stand up for policies that create opportunities to overcome poverty, promote peace and dignity, preserve God’s creation and promote racial and gender justice.
HOUSING IN FEDERAL BUDGET: Congress on Feb. 18 voted on another extension through Mar. 11 of federal appropriations. In a year of historic inflation and rising housing costs, flat level funding for the entire fiscal year would be especially crippling for federal housing programs in particular, which are directly tied to the market.
This comes as the need to pass a full fiscal year 2022 budget, which was first due in Oct. 2021, continues to grow as temporary stopgap delays have kept government funding levels flat across the government and military. Without increases, officials will need to make difficult choices in cutting back vouchers and homeless assistance in communities, at a time when housing affordability continues to fall out of reach for many. ELCA advocacy staff continue to meet with Democratic and Republican legislative offices, highlighting the impact of flat-level funding on those of us in the greatest need. As lawmakers continue these discussions, advocates can highlight their own concerns on the affordability crisis through the ELCA Action Center.
AFGHAN REFUGEE ADVOCACY: On Feb. 19, the last Afghan refugees departed U.S. military bases for resettlement, bringing the need for welcome of 76,000 Afghans evacuees in cities across the country since rapid evacuations took place last summer. However, many Afghan arrivals lack a pathway to legal permanent residency which presents a problem for their long-term safety and security.
Over 40% of Afghans who arrived at U.S. military bases were children. Worship communities have played an important role in resettlement and advocacy through fostering welcoming spaces for inclusion. ELCA advocacy staff have continued to meet with Democratic and Republican senators to create awareness of and support legislative solutions, like an Afghan Adjustment Act. Learn more and add your voice with a related Action Alert.
FOREIGN ASSISTANCE: As COVID-19 and humanitarian emergencies continue to impact many families and communities around the world, the ELCA is collaborating with ecumenical partners to urge the Biden administration to send a request to Congress to ask for supplemental funding.
Current federal government funding has been extended through a Continuing Resolution. Because of this, some humanitarian, development and global health programs are running out of funds. The supplemental funding can be used to address some of these gaps, especially those related to emergency food aid programs and COVID-19 global response. We are concurrently urging legislative appropriators to finalize appropriation bills for Fiscal Year 22.
HOLY LAND CHURCH LEADERS’ CONCERN: On Dec. 13, 2021, the Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem issued their “Statement on the Current Threat to the Christian Presence in the Holy Land.” The church leaders report that the Christian community has “become the target of frequent and sustained attacks by fringe radical groups.”
The U.S. should urge the political authorities of Israel, Palestine and Jordan to engage in the dialogue requested by the church leaders according to a recent ELCA Peace Not Walls update, and the tool in the Peace Not Walls – January announcement can be used for you to urge this action in Congress.