March 11, 2004
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
We urge you to support an amendment by Senators Santorum and Lieberman to attach the Charity Aid, Recovery and Empowerment Act of 2003 (CARE Act) to S. 1637, the Jumpstart Our Business Strength (JOBS) Act. While we have not taken a position on S. 1637, we see this as an opportunity to pass the CARE Act.
The CARE Act, which the Senate has already approved by an overwhelming 95-5 vote, will provide crucial assistance to charities and the people they serve by restoring $1.3 billion in funding to the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) program; allowing non-itemizers to claim charitable deductions on their taxes to spur additional private giving; creating a Compassion Capital Fund to provide technical assistance and capacity building for faith-based and community groups; and authorizing $33 million to establish group maternity homes for young mothers
Restoring SSBG funding is especially crucial given the state of the economy and the severe fiscal crises facing the states. States use SSBG funding to assist community groups and religious agencies that serve working families, abused and abandoned children, persons with disabilities, and the frail elderly.
We support these provisions in the CARE Act because they are among the very few active legislative initiatives that will help low-income families and the most vulnerable members of our society. If enacted, they will strengthen the partnership between government and religious and other community groups to meet the basic human needs of all in our country, a partnership that is demanded by the moral scandal of so much poverty in the richest nation on earth.
We urge you to vote yes on the amendment to add the CARE Act to S. 1637.
Theodore Cardinal McCarrick
Archbishop of Washington
Chairman Domestic Policy Committee
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Thomas A. DeStefano
Catholic Charities USA
Rev. Michael D. Place, STD
President and Chief Executive Officer
Catholic Health Association of the United States