Lansing Update
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CAN is an outreach of the Michigan Catholic Conference, the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in Michigan
July 21, 2017

  In This Update:  
  • 2017-2018 State Budget Signed Into Law
  • U.S. Bishops Say Federal Budget Places Poor in Jeopardy
  • USCCB Urges Senate to Consider More Reasonable Approach on Health Care Reform
  • Calls to Continue DACA Program Also Point to Need for Immigration Reform
  2017-2018 State Budget Signed Into Law  

On Friday, July 14, Governor Rick Snyder signed the 2017-2018 state budget into law. This budget will become effective on October 1, 2017 and carry through until September 30, 2018. To read about the programs and policies of interest to Michigan Catholic Conference in the 2017-2018 state budget, click here. Staff is especially grateful to the governor for approving the budget and to the Appropriations Committee chairs in both the Senate and the House, Senator Dave Hildenbrand (R-Lowell) and Representative Laura Cox (R-Livonia). MCC also would like to thank Senators Goeff Hansen (R-Hart), Tonya Schuitmaker (R-Lawton), and Jim Marleau (R-Lake Orion), as well as Representatives Tim Kelly (R-Saginaw), Kim LaSata (R-Bainbridge Township) and Ed Canfield (R-Sebewaing), who led discussion and formation of relevant aspects of the state budget.

  U.S. Bishops Say Federal Budget Places Poor in Jeopardy  
This week, the U.S. House of Representatives continued consideration of its budget resolution in its Budget Committee. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has been monitoring the document's formation and the appropriations process. While the USCCB is analyzing the current proposal further, the proposal makes "harmful and unacceptable cuts" to Medicaid and cuts critical resources for those in need. Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development expressed the bishops' concerns:
"A nation's budget is a moral document. Reducing deficits through cuts for human needs-while simultaneously attempting a tax cut, as this proposal does-will place millions of poor and vulnerable people in real jeopardy. Congress should choose a better path, one that honors those struggling in our country."
  USCCB Urges Senate to Consider More Reasonable Approach on Health Care Reform  
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops also commented on health care this week, calling for the U.S. Senate to fix problems with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in a more narrow way, rather than repeal it without an adequate replacement.
"Before any legislation had been proposed, the bishops were clear that a repeal of key provisions of the Affordable Care Act ought not be undertaken without the concurrent passage of a replacement plan that ensures access to adequate health care for the millions of people who now rely upon it for their wellbeing. To end coverage for those who struggle every day without an adequate alternative in place would be devastating."
The USCCB encourages federal lawmakers to address the Affordable Care Act's deficiencies and challenges by, among other things: extending full Hyde Amendment protections to prohibit federal money from paying for abortions, protecting the conscience rights of all stakeholders in health care, protecting religious freedom, and addressing barriers to access and affordability for the poor.
  Calls to Continue DACA Program Also Point to Need for Immigration Reform  
In 2012, the Department of Homeland Security allowed for undocumented individuals who came to the country as children to receive temporary reprieve from deportation and employment authorization for legal work in the United States. Over 750,000 youth have received this protection-not legal status-from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.  On June 29, ten state's attorneys general submitted a letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, calling for the Secretary of Homeland Security to phase out DACA by September 5. The letter writes that if the program is not phased out, the attorneys general will challenge DACA in court. In response, Bishop Joe S. Vásquez, Chair of the Migration Committee and Bishop of Austin, Texas, expressed support for DACA once again, stating:
"The Catholic Bishops have long supported DACA youth and continue to do so. DACA youth are contributors to our economy, veterans of our military, academic standouts in our universities, and leaders in our parishes. These young people entered the U.S. as children and know America as their only home. The dignity of every human being, particularly that of our children and youth, must be protected."
At the same time, the U.S. bishops called for lawmakers to work on finding a humane and more permanent resolution for these individuals that includes comprehensive immigration reform.
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Michigan Catholic Conference, 510 South Capitol Avenue, Lansing, Michigan 48933 Michigan Catholic Conference: The Official Public Policy Voice of the Catholic Church in Michigan Phone: (517) 372-9310, Fax: (517) 372-3940,