November 16, 2017  
 Inside this issue
  USCCB Opposes Congressional Tax Proposals  
  The US Conference of Catholics Bishops (USCCB) is closely examining major tax proposals in Congress, including the version approved today in the US House. While lauding certain elements of the proposals, the US Bishops judge key provisions to be unacceptable, saying in a statement "this proposal appears to be the first federal income tax modification in American history that will raise income taxes on the working poor while simultaneously providing a large tax cut to the wealthy. This is simply unconscionable."

The USCCB is urging Congress to take more time to better understand these bills, and to examine the tax legislation in light of the moral principles they recently outlined for this effort:
  • Caring for the poor;
  • Strengthening families;
  • Maintaining progressivity of the tax code;
  • Raising adequate revenue for the common good;
  • Avoiding cuts to poverty programs to finance tax reform; and
  • Incentivizing charitable giving and development.
To read more about the USCCB's assessment of the federal tax proposals, refer to the October 25 and November 9 letters to Congress.
 

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  Capital Budget Essential for Affordable Housing  
  The Washington State Legislature failed to pass the capital budget earlier this year. The budget includes $106.3 million for the Housing Trust Fund. A portion of this money is needed to help launch several new permanent supportive housing projects in Washington State that will be operated by the Catholic Charities agencies of the three dioceses. These projects will provide housing for scores of low income and homeless families and individuals in our state. Funds for expansion of mental health facilities are also included in the capital budget. The budget has been held up due to a separate legislative dispute concerning water rights stemming from the Hirst decision of the State Supreme Court.
 
Take Action - Please contact your State Representatives and Senators and encourage them to find a solution on the water rights issue and pass the capital budget. Call the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000. Since the Legislature is not in session, the Hotline is open from 8:00 a.m. to Noon and from 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
 

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  WSCC Marks First Anniversary of Who Is My Neighbor?  
 

Tomorrow, November 17, marks the one year anniversary of the WSCC pastoral letter, Who Is My Neighbor? To mark the anniversary, the Bishops of Washington State will release a statement that renews their call for prayer and action. Look for it tomorrow in your inbox.
 

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  Sunday, Nov. 19: First World Day of the Poor  
 
 
This Sunday, November 19, has been designated the first World Day of the Poor by Pope Francis. The Pope asks all of us to reflect on Jesus' great love for those who experience poverty, to encounter our brothers and sisters in need, and to work alongside them to put faith into action. To access the Pope's message for this first World Day of the Poor, visit the Vatican website.
 

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  Conscience Protection Act of 2017  
 
 
Supported by USCCB, Human Life Action (HLA) is urging Catholics to contact their members of Congress and advocate for the protection of life and freedom of conscience. The Conscience Protection Act (CPA) is much-needed, common-sense legislation which will clarify federal law and ensure that those who provide health care and health coverage can do so without being forced by government to help destroy innocent unborn children.
 
Take Action - The US House incorporated the Conscience Protection Act of 2017 (CPA) into the Fiscal Year 2018 Labor, HHS Appropriations bill. The Senate should be urged to include the CPA in the final funding legislation of the year jointly approved by House and Senate. Please take a moment to let your representatives in Congress know that we expect them to protect our most cherished liberties. To take action, go to the HLA Action Center.
 

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  Pope Francis Condemns Nuclear Weapons  
 
 
In his address to an international symposium on nuclear disarmament at the Vatican, Pope Francis decried the cost of nuclear arsenals, the "catastrophic humanitarian and environmental effects" if they are ever used, and "the risk of an accidental detonation ..." The Pope declared that "the threat of their use, as well as their very possession, is to be firmly condemned."
 
Pope Francis also said that nuclear weapons "exist in the service of a mentality of fear that affects not only the parties in conflict but the entire human race. ... They cannot constitute the basis for peaceful coexistence between members of the human family, which must rather be inspired by an ethics of solidarity." To read the entire address, visit the Vatican website.
 

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  Ending Gun Violence  
  In the aftermath of the recent and horrific attacks in Las Vegas, Nevada, and the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the USCCB's Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, urged national leaders to engage in a true debate about solutions to gun violence. "For many years, the Catholic bishops of the United States have been urging our leaders to explore and adopt reasonable policies to help curb gun violence. ... The USCCB continues to urge a total ban on assault weapons ... While acknowledging the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and related jurisprudence, we live in a fallen world with daily advances in modern technology."  The complete statement is available on the USCCB website.
 
 
 
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