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Hill Notes and Backgrounders

CSMG Legislative Priorities On February 10, 2015, Catholic Social Ministry Gathering participants will be advocating on the Hill.  The following Hill Notes and Backgrounders will prepare you to effectively articulate the Catholic position on the following legislative priorities:

2015 Message to Congress

Joint Legislative Priorities

1. Protect poor people in the Federal Budget.


  • Strengthen funding for poverty-focused international development and humanitarian programs that save lives, reduce crushing poverty and build peace.  
  • Adequately fund  humanitarian accounts: International Disaster Assistance, Migration and Refugee Assistance, and Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance, Conflict Stabilization and Peacekeeping Operations
  • Strengthen efforts to promote good governance, democracy, and peacebuilding to address the root causes of conflict.
  • Continue critical development programs that protect health, provide access to water and education, and help farmers connect to markets


  • Protect programs that alleviate hunger. SNAP; Women, Infants, and Children Program (WIC); School Lunches; and other food assistance programs must be protected to eliminate the scourge of hunger.
  • Meet the unmet housing need. Adequately fund homelessness, affordable housing, and community development programs.
  • Ensure access to life-affirming health care.
  • Support sufficient decent job creation. Support work by protecting workforce development programs

2. Reduce unnecessary military spending, especially for nuclear weapons and modernization programs. An over-investment in military spending can rob us of the resources needed to reduce poverty at home and abroad and to address the root causes of war. 

International Legislative Priorities

  • Support U.S. leadership for peace, and a 2-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a secure and recognized Israel living in peace alongside a viable and independent Palestinian State.
  • Preserve FY 2015 assistance to the Palestinian people so they can address their humanitarian needs, reduce economic desperation, continue improving security in the West Bank, and strengthen their capacity to build institutions for a future state.

Domestic Legislative Priorities

Child Nutrition Reauthorization
  • Improve access and flexibility for child nutrition and school-based meal programs to respond to local needs.
  • Invest in resources and protect from harmful cuts and changes, the hunger and nutrition programs that feed hungry children, and expectant and breastfeeding mothers, throughout the year.
  • Protect recent gains made in eligibility and certification so that more children get the food they need for their healthy development.

Comprehensive Immigration Reform

  • A Path to Citizenship is not an amnesty--those who qualify would have to pay back taxes, a fine, acquire English proficiency, and wait their turn.
  • Family-Based Immigration would reduce current backlogs in family categories. Oppose transferring permanent visas from the family categories to the employment categories.
  • A “Future Flow” Worker Program would allow safe, legal entry and job portability while meeting the nation’s economic needs. Low-skill labor deserves appropriate workplace safeguards and an option to earn citizenship.
  • Address the Root Causes of Migration such as poverty and conflict,  and seek long-term solutions.
  • Instead of reversing executive action, pass legislation that supersedes it. We do not oppose a piecemeal approach, as long as all the pieces are there in the end.
  • Visit Justice for Immigrants and Migration and Refugee Services for more information on Immigration Reform.


Background Materials

Poverty-focused International Assistance Programs Supported by USCCB and CRS

Background on Child Nutrition Reauthorization

Background on the Ebola Outbreak

Background on Family Security and Stability

Background on Federal Domestic Antipoverty Programs

Background on Fragile States

Background on Religious Liberty and the Freedom to Minister to All

Background on Global Climate Change

Background on Human Rights in the Cradle of Christianity

Background on Human Trafficking in the United States

Background on Israel and Palestine

Background on a Peace Economy: Rebalancing Spending Priorities

Background on Restorative Justice: Healing and Transformation of Persons, Families and Communities

Background on Root Causes of Migration



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