Letter to Congress on Prioritizing Investments that Reduce Poverty

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker, U.S. House of Representatives

The Honorable Chuck Schumer
Majority Leader, U.S. Senate 

The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Minority Leader, U.S. Senate 

The Honorable Kevin McCarthy
Minority Leader, U.S. House of Representatives

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Leader Schumer, Leader McConnell and Leader McCarthy:

Catholic Charities USA represents 167 Catholic Charities agencies operating 3,000 sites across all 50 states and the U.S. territories. For over 110 years, we have worked to alleviate poverty, serving over 15 million people in 2020. As you look for savings within the proposed budget reconciliation legislation, we urge you to prioritize investments that reduce poverty, such as affordable housing and a refundable Child Tax Credit (CTC), especially for those with limited or no income. Though we highlight these two programs, we maintain strong support for multiple priorities that were outlined in CCUSA’s Budget Reconciliation letter in August of 2021—including child care, EITC, paid family leave, telehealth, home and community-based services, Medicare, and the protection of life, among others.

Affordable Housing: We are deeply concerned that the critical need for affordable housing could face significant reductions or eliminated from the proposed legislation. Catholic Charities agencies serve on the front lines of the affordable housing crisis, providing shelter for poor and homeless families. In 2020, Catholic Charities agencies provided emergency housing to 180,000 people, sheltered 403,000 homeless people and operated over 37,000 affordable housing units. Federal housing programs and tax credits are critical to our ability to create affordable housing. We urge Congress to prioritize multi-year, mandatory funding for housing vouchers, the National Housing Trust Fund, public housing and the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit to encourage the development of affordable housing.

Child Tax Credit: Catholic Charities agencies provide support for children living in poverty through foster care, early education, nutrition, behavioral health and other supportive services. We urge Congress to help lift children out of poverty by expanding the Child Tax Credit and making it permanently refundable in order to prioritize the needs of children in families with limited or no income. In addition, we oppose work requirements, which would take support away from the most vulnerable children and their families.

Every day, Catholic Charities agencies serve the needs of our most vulnerable sisters and brothers seeking help, compassion and care. As Congress makes the hard choices about how to allocate resources in the reconciliation legislation, we strongly urge you to take this opportunity to protect the least among us.

Sincerely,

Sister Donna Markham OP, Ph.D.
President & CEO, Catholic Charities USA

Advocacy & Social Policy Initiatives

CCUSA's Advocacy and Social Policy team advocates for policies that uphold human dignity and promote integral human development. Informed by the experience of local Catholic Charities agencies, the team urges policy makers to encounter the needy and vulnerable in their communities and to create policies which assist and support them.

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