Fall 2023 Newsletter
As we look towards Congress’s return to Washington in a few weeks, we want to update you on our work in the Office of Government Relations and share the results of your efforts of faith-based advocacy and Christian witness.
Over the past few months, you have sent more than 15,000 messages to Congress through the Episcopal Public Policy Network. Thank you to all of you who have taken action! These messages raise awareness and visibility of public policy issues, alert members of Congress to constituent priorities, and offer a values-based perspective that can counterbalance private sector and industry interests.
OGR staff have continued to provide up-to-date information about what’s happening in Congress and with the Administration through our weekly Episcopal Public Policy Network Calls (register here!). Thanks to all of those who join for these briefings – we hope they inform your advocacy and perspective on public policy issues that don’t always make headlines. As always, we welcome your feedback (email us! email@example.com)
Our team regularly meets with Congressional offices, building relationships, gaining intelligence on dynamics in Congress that we can share with our network, and advocating for specific legislation. We also weigh in on legislation before it is introduced and identify new areas for meaningful legislation.
In the weeks ahead, you still have a chance to join a town hall, set up a meeting with your legislator, or offer feedback. Many of you have relied on our resources for meetings or town halls with legislators – we always love hearing the outcomes of your conversations, so please share with us.
We continue to advocate for family reunification, comprehensive immigration reform, and humane treatment of asylum seekers and immigrants. We are also pushing for legislation that protects Dreamers and Afghans while pushing the Biden administration to maintain access to asylum. Thank you to everyone from our network who submitted comments opposing the Biden Administration’s asylum rule!
Our immigration action alerts are here:
As Congress prepares to fund the government, we are focused on pushing for a child tax credit that would support families living in poverty, as well as ensuring that there are no cuts to food assistance programs that help the most vulnerable.
In the international arena, we are advocating for continued humanitarian assistance to address crises around the world, and for programs that provide long-term solutions to extreme poverty
- Tell Congress to Fund the Government
- Urge Congress to Combat HIV/AIDS Globally
- Protect Antipoverty Programs letter to Congressional Leaders
- Joint Statement in Support of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
Climate, environment, and care of creation
Highlighting the urgency of addressing climate change, we are mobilizing support for legislation that prioritizes clean energy, addresses environmental justice, and protects clean air and water for all people.
- Tell Congress to Support Environmental Justice
- Tell the Senate to Help Wildlife
- Tell Congress to Permanently Protect the Arctic Refuge
Racial reconciliation and healing
We continue to advocate for anti-racist policies and consider racial justice and healing throughout our advocacy. In particular, we are highlighting the call for a congressional commission to study reparations in H.R. 40, as well as advocating for voting rights and criminal justice reform.
- Urge Congress to advance the study of reparations
- Support statehood for D.C.
- Urge Congress to pass voting rights legislation
- Take action on Sentencing Reform
- Action on police reform
- Make “Lift Every Voice and Sing” our national hymn
Human rights and peacebuilding
In connection with non-U.S. Episcopal dioceses and Anglican partners, we work closely with U.S. government departments and agencies behind-the-scenes to push for conflict resolution and support of peacebuilding efforts. We lift up human rights issues globally and engage in country and regional specific work, including advocating for normalization of U.S. – Cuba relations and advocating for a Congressional truth and healing commission for Indian boarding schools.
- Support a congressional truth and healing commission for Indian boarding schools
- Tell Congress to Defend the Rights of Palestinian Children
- Urge President Biden to Remove Restrictions on Cuba
- Urge your Representative to Support Global Nuclear Disarmament
One of the ways we amplify our collective voice and leverage the power of the Episcopal Church as an institution, is through letters addressed to legislators and policymakers. We send independent letters to Congress, highlighting the guidance from General Convention, and we also join with ecumenical, interfaith, and secular partners. Institutional sign-on letters play a crucial role in amplifying the collective voice of our church on pressing social justice and policy issues.
What are institutional sign-on letters?
- An institutional sign-on letter is a formal document that represents the unified position of multiple organizations, institutions, or faith communities on a particular issue. The letter is addressed to policymakers, legislators, or government agencies, urging them to take action. These letters are powerful statements and demonstrate broad-based and diverse institutional support on certain issues and can persuade policymakers to co-sponsor legislation, vote in support of a bill, or take other steps. Some institutional sign-on letters are public – you can see these below – whereas others are shared with legislators privately as part of a comprehensive outreach and engagement strategy. These letters are one way the Church has a public witness, and we aim to influence policy through these statements.
Public Sign-on letters:
- Investor Statement for the 10th Anniversary of Rana Plaza
- Investors and Businesses Call on Policymakers to Protect the Freedom to Invest Responsibly
2023 Posts from the Hill
- Episcopal Church Statement on the Asylum Border Policy Announcement (1/9/2023)
- What Happened at the U.S.-Africa Summit? (1/10/2023)
- Actions on Police Reform (1/31/2023)
- Episcopal Church Statement on Ukraine – One Year Later (2/24/2023)
- New Podcast Offers Resources for Episcopal Public Advocacy (3/24/2023)
- Post Title-42 Update, Advocacy, and Resources (5/17/2023)
- Resources for Juneteenth (6/15/2023)
- Join Churches for Middle East Peace and Embrace the Middle East for a Four-Week Series in Conversation with Christian’s Across the Middle East (7/13/2023)
- The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (7/27/2023)
- Congress is Out for Summer! (7/31/2023)
- State Level Advocacy (8/8/2023)
The Office of Government Relations