August 9, 2002
Background: In June, the Senate Finance Committee approved key provisions of the Charity Aid, Recovery and Empowerment (CARE) Act (S. 1924), a bipartisan bill sponsored by Senators Joe Lieberman (D-CT) and Rick Santorum (R-PA). Unfortunately, the Senate was not able to take up the bill before leaving for the August recess.
The CARE Act seeks to provide crucial resources to the faith-based and secular charities that serve our needy brothers and sisters, through provisions that include:
- Tax-code changes to allow non-itemizers to take a tax deduction for a portion of their charitable contributions (a proposal long supported by the Conference);
- Funding for a Compassion Capital fund to provide technical assistance to small charities; and,
- Significant additional resources for the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) program and the Second Chance/Maternity Group Homes to enable religious and secular charities to provide needed social services.
Action Requested: While home in their states for the August recess, Senators will be attending town hall forums, site visits, events, and making other public appearances, or will be available for visits in their local offices. Use every opportunity to contact your Senators, whether in person, by phone or by fax, and deliver these messages:
- Urge your Senators to support and cosponsor the CARE Act. If your Senator is already a cosponsor, thank him or her:
CARE Act cosponsors: Allard (CO), Bayh (IN), Bennett (UT), Bond, (MO) Brownback (KS), Carnahan (MO), Cleland (GA), Clinton (NY), Cochran (MS), Crapo (ID), DeWine (OH), Domenici (NM), Frist (TN), Hagel (NE), Hatch (UT), Hutchinson, T (AR), Hutchison, K (TX), Johnson (SD), Landrieu (LA), Lieberman (CT), Lugar (IN), Miller (GA), Nelson (FL), Santorum (PA), Sessions (AL), G. Smith (OR), Torricelli (NJ), Warner (VA)
- Urge your Senators especially current cosponsors and those who agree to become cosponsors to tell the Senate Leadership it's essential for the Senate to take up the CARE Act as soon as possible when the Senate returns in September.
Our Position: The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops supports President Bush"s Faith-Based and Community Initiatives proposal and legislation to support faith-based and community organizations because we believe they will put new tools in the hands of those struggling daily to overcome the most difficult problems in our neighborhoods and communities: persistent poverty, violence, substance abuse, inadequate housing, and obstacles faced by those who are entering the job market. Faith-based groups should be allowed to participate in federally-funded programs to meet social needs on the same terms as other groups, without changing their fundamental nature or facing discrimination because of their religious identity. See Economic Justice For All, November, 1986; Moral Principles and Policy Priorities for Welfare Reform, March, 1995; and letters from USCCB, including joint letters with Catholic Charities USA dated February 26, 2002 and June 5, 2002.
For more information, contact Kathy Curran at 202-541-3188, email@example.com.