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CARE Act 2002 - Letter to Senate Leadership

 

February 26, 2002

Senator Joseph I. Lieberman
United States Senate
Washington, DC  20510

Dear Senator Lieberman:

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Catholic Charities USA strongly support S1924, the Charity Aid, Recovery and Empowerment Act of 2002 (CARE Act).  We see this bill as an important step in implementing the President's Faith-Based and Community Initiatives proposal, which we also support, by targeting new public and private resources for the struggle to overcome poverty.  Thank you for your leadership in introducing the CARE Act and working with Senator Santorum and President Bush to craft this important bipartisan bill.

As we are seeing throughout the country, the long-term economic impact of September 11, together with the already declining economy, have placed new and urgent demands on traditional faith-based and secular charities that serve the poor and vulnerable.  Reports from social service agencies indicate that donations are not keeping pace with need.   In this time of economic uncertainty, the partnership between the federal government and private charities is even more critical.  We believe three aspects of the CARE Act are particularly important: 

  • 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
  • providing additional funding for the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) program. 
We support the legislation's goal of engaging more community and faith-based organizations in tackling our nation's social problems, and its affirmation of the complementary roles and responsibilities of religious groups, community organizations and government in addressing these problems.  While religious and secular charities play a key role in providing social services, they cannot take the government's rightful place in assuring that the basic needs of all Americans are addressed. The legislation recognizes this reality by its inclusion of additional resources for the SSBG program, which provides community groups and religious agencies with federal funds to assist working families, abused and abandoned children, persons with disabilities, and the frail elderly.

We will continue to support the efforts of the faith-based initiative to ensure that religious groups can be effective partners with government and community organizations in providing social services, without jeopardizing their identity and integrity or undermining the rights and dignity of those in need.  We look forward to working with you to pass the CARE Act to provide much-needed federal and private resources to charities serving Americans in need.

Sincerely,

Theodore E. Cardinal McCarrick
Archbishop of Washington
Chairman, Domestic Policy Committee
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Rev. J. Bryan Hehir
President
Catholic Charities USA



February 26, 2002

Senator Rick Santorum
United States Senate
Washington, DC  20510

Dear Senator Santorum:

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Catholic Charities USA strongly support S1924, the Charity Aid, Recovery and Empowerment Act of 2002 (CARE Act).  We see this bill as an important step in implementing the President's Faith-Based and Community Initiatives proposal, which we also support, by targeting new public and private resources for the struggle to overcome poverty.  Thank you for your leadership in introducing the CARE Act and working with Senator Lieberman and President Bush to craft this important bipartisan bill.

As we are seeing throughout the country, the long-term economic impact of September 11, together with the already declining economy, have placed new and urgent demands on traditional faith-based and secular charities that serve the poor and vulnerable.  Reports from social service agencies indicate that donations are not keeping pace with need.   In this time of economic uncertainty, the partnership between the federal government and private charities is even more critical.  We believe three aspects of the CARE Act are particularly important:  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
  • providing additional funding for the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) program. 
We support the legislation's goal of engaging more community and faith-based organizations in tackling our nation's social problems, and its affirmation of the complementary roles and responsibilities of religious groups, community organizations and government in addressing these problems.  While religious and secular charities play a key role in providing social services, they cannot take the government's rightful place in assuring that the basic needs of all Americans are addressed. The legislation recognizes this reality by its inclusion of additional resources for the SSBG program, which provides community groups and religious agencies with federal funds to assist working families, abused and abandoned children, persons with disabilities, and the frail elderly.

We will continue to support the efforts of the faith-based initiative to ensure that religious groups can be effective partners with government and community organizations in providing social services, without jeopardizing their identity and integrity or undermining the rights and dignity of those in need.  We look forward to working with you to pass the CARE Act to provide much-needed federal and private resources to charities serving Americans in need.

Sincerely,

Theodore E. Cardinal McCarrick
Archbishop of Washington
Chairman, Domestic Policy Committee
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Rev. J. Bryan Hehir
President
Catholic Charities USA 


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