from the ELCA Advocacy office in Washington, D.C. – the Rev. Amy E. Reumann, director
Partial content* expanded from Advocacy Connections: July 2020
POLICING REFORM: In June, the House passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020, including votes from three Republican members of Congress. This legislation included most of the recommendations suggested in a letter to Congress from the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, which the ELCA signed. The bill has currently stalled in the Senate, but advocates can still encourage lawmakers to pass important policies that would help improve just policing in our communities through the ELCA Action Center.
ELCA Advocacy staff will continue to monitor key social justice initiatives and intersectional opportunities in policy to address racism and discrimination. A webinar in late summer on faith values in policing reform hosted by the National Council of Churches is being planned with the ELCA along with several ELCA full communion partners.
DACA UPDATE: The Supreme Court in June rejected the Trump administration’s push to end the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that gives nearly 700,000 recipients the ability to work in the U.S. and avoid deportation. Congressional action is still needed to provide permanent legal protection to DACA recipients and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforcement Departure (DED) holders who are living in a state of uncertainty.
Roughly 74% of Americans support legal status for Dreamers, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey. The White House still has the ability to rescind the DACA program and can try again after considering issues of forbearance from deportation and what to do about the imposed hardship applied to those affected. Use the ELCA Action Center to encourage action around a bill that would enhance protection for Dreamers.
FOREIGN AID: House appropriators have unveiled an international budget bill for Fiscal Year 2021, including $10 billion to respond to the pandemic through coronavirus preparedness, response and relief globally. ELCA Advocacy continues to push for inclusion of these fund expenditures to support developing countries.
Appropriation is a law of Congress that provides an agency with budget authority. The House and Senate Appropriations committees, through their 12 subcommittees, hold hearings to examine the budget requests and needs of federal spending programs. The House and Senate then produce appropriations bills to fund the federal government. These bills are “marked up,” amended as needed and approved by the Appropriations committees. Find more about the process at NSF.org.
CLIMATE CRISIS ACTION PLAN: The House of Representative’s Select Committee on Solving the Climate Crisis issued its long-awaited Climate Crisis Action Plan report on June 30 that recommends policies aimed at creating jobs and transitioning to renewable energy for fuels. Although not bipartisan, many of the report’s provisions appear to be mutually acceptable and are likely to be the basis for future legislation.
All through the plan are mechanisms for addressing environmental justice and racial inequities. The plan includes a National Climate Adaptation Program to help states, tribes and localities prepare for the effects of climate change. It would also create the Climate Resiliency Service Corps that would essentially build on the Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps to create jobs by plugging old oil and gas wells and reclaiming abandoned coal mines.
CENSUS 2020: At this time, only around 62% of households have self-responded to the 2020 Census online, by mail or by phone. Census takers are scheduled to begin in-person interviewing of households that have not yet responded, starting July 16. Let’s help keep door-to-door visits minimal. Take the 2020 Census now and urge your community to do so too – for your neighbor and yourself.
The Census Bureau announced in spring a deadline extension for collecting census data from Aug. 15 to Oct. 31 due to challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic. An accurate count ensures that resources more justly go where they are most needed and is critical for representation in the political process. The ELCA is an official partner of the 2020 Census and will continue to encourage the most accurate count possible. Find resources at ELCA.org/resources/advocacy#CivicEngagement.