OGR Advocacy Newsletter May 2021
The first few months of a new presidential administration are often a time of great activity as the new administration seeks to set a new tone and signal priorities. The beginning of a new Congressional session is also a time of increased legislative activity, when meaningful bills are introduced with a higher likelihood of passing. The past several months are no exception: Congress passed massive COVID-19 relief legislation, following the passage of significant COVID-19 relief legislation in December 2020. The Biden administration has reversed policies and put forward executive orders on issues like climate and refugee resettlement, and connected with religious communities and others, as with the COVID-19 Community Corps. The House of Representatives continues to pass legislation onward to the Senate, including voting reform, D.C. statehood, protections for LGBTQ+ rights in the Equality Act, gun reform regarding enhanced background checks, police reform, and the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act.
We are grateful for your role as a member of the Episcopal Public Policy Network in helping to advocate for the priorities of the Church and elevate our public witness. Looking ahead, we will continue to push for more action on issues like ending the U.S. embargo on Cuba, investing in action to address climate change, access to COVID-19 vaccines, and on comprehensive immigration reform.
Action is also still needed in the Senate on many of the bills that passed the House. For more information on issues that still need your advocacy, visit our action alert page.
All our advocacy efforts are tied directly to the General Convention and Executive Council resolutions of The Episcopal Church, and our office directly encourages Congress to pass meaningful legislation on a range of issues including healthcare, migration, and environmental stewardship. Below is a list of statements our office has released on relevant issues in the past six months.
- OGR Priorities for the New Congress and Administration
- The Episcopal Church Condemns the Oil and Gas Lease Sale in the Arctic Refuge
- Statement on President Biden’s Day One Actions
- Statement Commending TPS designation for Venezuelans in the U.S.
- The Episcopal Church Statement on White House Refugee Resettlement Cap Decision
- Statement on Restoration of Funding to UNRWA
- The Episcopal Church Response to Administration’s Announcement on U.S Refugee Admissions Program
- The Episcopal Church Applauds Senate Passage of COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act
- Episcopal Church Statement on new Refugee Cap
The Episcopal Church regularly signs on to letters as one component of our public witness as an institution. Letters to the Administration and Congress are often written in coalition, and they raise the visibility of issues, make specific asks, and demonstrate a broad base of support for a policy proposal. We often bring these letters to Hill visits, and members of Congress regularly quote from them in floor speeches. You will find below some of the diverse letters the Church has signed on to this year.
- Circle of Protection letter on COVID-19 Relief Priorities
- Letter to OMB President urging to protect and invest in gender equality
- Faith-Based Organizations Call on Biden to normalize relations with Cuba
- Faith Organizations Letter to President Biden on just and equitable vaccine distribution
- Letter to Biden to End Trump’s Blockade of COVID-19 Emergency Waiver of WTO Rules
- Call to End Saudi Blockade of Yemen
- Faith Organization and Leaders Letter Supporting the Democracy Restoration Act
- Faith Communities Climate Leadership Summit Statement
- Letter urging inclusion of Drug Pricing and Medicare Expansion in American Families Plan
- Interfaith letter to Biden calling for Federal moratorium on Death Penalty
- Letter to Sec. Blinken on imminent Palestinian displacement
- Natl. HoUSed Campaign Congressional letter on universally accessible housing
- Faith for Just Lending Asks Congress to Support the Veterans and Consumers Fair Credit Act
OGR Events and Resources
Webinars are key tools to help educate Episcopalians about better understand ways to strategically engage with our elected officials and advocate for just legislation. We have recently hosted webinars on topics such as voting and gerrymandering, immigration reform, and global vaccine access. Recordings of these events and more can be found on our Events Page.
We have shared the following resources with our EPPN network emails, which you can sign up for here.
- Our new Creation Care series explores how climate change impacts communities and the policy options legislators are considering to address it.
- Episcopal Toolkit for COVID-19 Vaccination Distribution serves as a compilation of ideas and educational resources to help your local Episcopal Church work with the government to help end this pandemic and increase awareness of vaccination measures in the local area to your
- Protecting Voting Rights is important in order to equip and empower all voices to be heard in our democracy. This resource offers strategies to work collectively ensuring our advocacy efforts represent the needs of all communities.
Finally, we hope that you will consider joining us for our weekly Network Call, where OGR staff provide updates on the legislation and policy initiatives we are watching. We also answer questions from EPPN members and welcome your feedback!
With many blessings,
The Office of Government Relations
The Office of Government Relations