Advocacy, Catholics Confront Global Poverty

Advocacy and the Fiscal Cliff

The American people have chosen the President and a new Congress. President Obama will be inaugurated to his second term as the 44th President of the United States on January 21, 2013. The 113th Congress will convene on January 3, 2013 with newly elected and returning Senators and Representatives.

In many ways, the election perpetuates the status quo concerning the advancement of global poverty issues, with no change in the White House. While the Senate continues to be controlled by the Democrats, the House remains in Republican hands. Democrats gained two seats in the Senate and now have a margin of 55 to 45, including two Independents. No major changes are expected to the Senate leadership, although some key Committee leaders may be affected, including those for the Budget and Foreign Relations Committees. No major changes are expected in the House Republican leadership; however, several key committees, including Appropriations and Foreign Affairs, will see new leadership.

Several new Catholic members have been elected to the U.S. Congress, including Senators-elect Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Tim Kaine (D-VA), and Representatives-elect Kerry Bentivolio, (R-MI, 11th), Matt Cartwright (D-PA, 17th), Joaquin Castro (D-TX, 20th), Chris Collins (R-NY, 27th), Paul Cook (R-CA, 8th), Rodney Davis (R-IL, 13th), John Delaney (D-MD, 6th), Ron DeSantis (R-FL, 6th), Joe Garcia (D-FL, 26th), Pete Gallego (D-TX, 23rd), David Joyce (R-OH, 14th), Joseph Kennedy III (D-MA, 4th), Dan Kildee (D-MI, 5th), Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ, 1st), Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM, 1st), Dan Maffei (D-NY, 24th), Nick Nolan (D-MN, 8th), Beto O’Rourke (D-TX, 16th), Trey Radel (R-FL, 19th), Keith Rothfus (R-PA, 2nd), Carol Shea Porter (D-NH, 1st), Juan Vargas (D-CA, 51st), Filemon Vela (D-TX, 34th), Brad Wenstrup (R-OH, 2nd) and Ted Yoho (R-FL, 3rd). We look forward to working with them and all other new members to advance the Church’s positions on alleviating global poverty.

Now that the election is over, the current 112th Congress, including those members who lost their races, will return to Washington D.C. to address some big issues our country is facing. These include the ”fiscal cliff” which, if not addressed, will trigger automatic across-the-board cuts to poverty-focused international assistance and other discretionary spending, as well as tax increases in the new year. We expect serious advocacy related to the “fiscal cliff” after Thanksgiving, so stay tuned for action alerts in your inbox. Your voice will be needed for a sustained period of time to ensure that life-saving poverty-focused international assistance is protected from profoundly threatening cuts.

On another important note, our friends and neighbors in the Northeast region of the United States and the Caribbean are trying to piece their lives back together after Hurricane Sandy. Please consider sharing this prayer and sample petitions with your friends, family and faith community. You can also learn more about Catholic Relief Services’ emergency response efforts in Haiti, Cuba and Jamaica.

Please continue to keep our brothers and sisters impacted by Hurricane Sandy in your prayers.

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