Advocacy, Catholics Confront Global Poverty

Congress Recesses – and We Spring into Action

The U.S. House and Senate recess for the month of August and members return to their home districts.  The House is scheduled to recess on July 31 and the Senate is expected to follow on August 7.  Both chambers return on September 8.

The August recess is an excellent time to schedule meetings with members in their district or state offices and to attend local town meetings that are often held during the recess.  At town meetings you can ask questions that convey your concerns. From the perspective of Catholics Confront Global Poverty, two issues are especially timely: Israeli-Palestinian peace and climate change.

The Obama Administration is working to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. It is important to remind members of Congress that we support strong U.S. leadership for peace—leadership that holds both parties responsible for their obligations and leadership that supports a two-state solution with security and recognition for Israel and a viable and independent state for Palestinians.

Global climate change legislation offers another opportunity to engage members of Congress. The House passed its climate change bill (The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009), and although it is good that they addressed climate change, the legislation only commits 1% of the revenue it will generate to help poor developing nations meet the challenges of climate change. The Senate needs to do a better job. Last year’s bipartisan Lieberman-Warner climate bill in the Senate allocated 5% to help the world’s poorest people overcome the threats posed by climate change. It is critically important that the Senate does more to help people in developing countries. It is ironic that those who contributed least to climate change, the poor, are likely to suffer its worst effects and with the fewest resources.

In visits and town meetings Catholics can help confront global poverty by talking about these two issues.

– by Stephen Colecchi Director, Office of International Justice and Peace U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

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