HEALTH CARE REFORM STILL AT ISSUE
The U.S. Senate is still working on a health care reform bill called the “Better Care Reconciliation Act.” In response to a newly-released version, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, said, “The USCCB is reviewing carefully the health care bill introduced by Senate leadership earlier today (July 13). On an initial read, we do not see enough improvement to change our assessment that the proposal is unacceptable. We recognize the incremental improvement in funding the fight against opioid addiction, for instance, but more is needed to honor our moral obligation to our brothers and sisters living in poverty and to ensure that essential protections for the unborn remain in the bill.”
A letter responding to an earlier draft can be found at www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/health-care/....
Keep an eye on votervoice.net/USCCB/home for updated action alerts.
HOUSE PASSES ANTI-HUMAN TRAFFICKING BILL
In a rare bipartisan effort, the U.S. House has passed the reauthorization of the Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPA), HR 2200, and sent it over to the Senate. This bill is an important step in continuing our nation's efforts to eradicate human trafficking and assist human trafficking victims. H.R. 2200 ensures critical funding for both domestic and international anti-trafficking programs.
HOUSE PANEL PASSES AMENDMENT TO STOP DOCTOR-PRESCRIBED SUICIDE IN DC
As you may recall, late last year the District of Columbia City Council passed a law legalizing doctor-prescribed suicide in our nation's capital. The law formally took effect in late February but will not be implemented until Oct. 1.
On July 13, the U.S. House Appropriations Committee adopted an amendment to the Financial Services bill to nullify the doctor-prescribed suicide law. We were pleased to see that Rep. David Young of Iowa voted for the amendment.
There is still a ways to go on the issue - the bill itself needs to pass Congress and be signed by the president. We’ll keep you posted.
Administration URGED to Raise Cap on Refugee Admissions
U.S. refugee admissions have reached the historically low cap of 50,000 refugees allowed to be resettled in the United States for Fiscal Year 2017, as set forth by the Administration’s March 6th Executive Order 13780. Executive Order 13780 altered the initial Fiscal Year 2017 Presidential Determination which authorized the resettlement of 110,000 refugees into the United States. Currently there are approximately 22.5 million refugees seeking protection globally.
The following is a statement in response to the resettlement cap from the Most Reverend Joe S. Vásquez, Austin, Texas, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Migration:
“I note with sadness that the new U.S. refugee admissions cap of 50,000 individuals has been reached this week. While certain refugees who have ‘bona fide relationships’ will still be allowed to arrive, I remain deeply concerned about the human consequences of this limitation and its impact on vulnerable refugees such as unaccompanied refugee children, elderly and infirm refugees, and religious minorities. Now, these vulnerable populations will not be able to access needed protection and will continue to face danger and exploitation. Pope Francis reminds us that ‘refugees are not pawns on the chessboard of humanity.’ We must be mindful that every refugee is more than just a number, they are a child of God.
Looking forward, my brother bishops and I urge the Administration to allow 75,000 refugees to arrive to our country in the next fiscal year.”
NEWS AND NOTES