November 24, 2017
Last week, I wrote asking that you contact your US Senators and US House Representative to urge them to reject the tax proposals being now considered in Congress. Many of you did that. I grateful for your advocacy, but far more importantly, so are our friends in need.
Unhappily, our efforts were not successful in stopping passage of the tax bill in the House. Now a similar proposal is pending in the Senate, where a vote is expected the week after Thanksgiving. So I must ask you again, especially if you did not respond the first time, to contact your US Senators immediately and urge them to oppose the legislation. The vote in the Senate should be very close, so every advocacy contact is critical in shaping the outcome.
My message to you, and yours to the Senate, is fundamentally the same as last week when I wrote. The Senate version of the tax bill would likely have devastating consequences on the poorest and most vulnerable.
The Senate bill also contains a very troubling new wrinkle – it would repeal the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act and with it eliminates the need for our government to help fund health care coverage for the working poor if not available through their employer. This is contrary to both the Society’s long-standing position and the Church’s long-standing teaching that health care for all is a fundamental right, regardless of economic station in life. It also needlessly continues the divisive debate about of how to protect health care for tens of millions of our fellow citizens.
Consequently, I urge you to sign into Vincentian VoterVoice immediately to send your Senators a message urging them to not support the current proposal. Although a template message is provided for your convenience, please don’t hesitate to modify it to make it personal and therefore more meaningful. Draw from your Vincentian ministry of encounters with those who are poor and marginalized.
Proponents of the proposed tax cuts claim they will “grow the economy” in a way that will generate offsetting new revenue. But most economists and researchers conclude that the net effect, even allowing for possible economic growth, will be a staggering increase in the federal budget deficit – unless there are offsetting program cuts.
For more detailed information, I would again direct you to a letter of strong opposition issued earlier this month by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and a similar one from Catholic Charities. These letters detail the host of social-service programs likely to face even more severe cuts in coming federal budgets if the tax-policy changes under consideration are enacted.
So I ask you to again join with me, other Vincentians, and other faith-based organizations throughout our country to object strongly to the current tax policy changes being considered in Congress. They not only won’t help those we serve, they will actually harm them. Act immediately, please, by contacting your elected officials.
Yours in the social-justice spirit of Blessed Frederic Ozanam,
Ralph B. Middlecamp
Society of St. Vincent de Paul, National Council of the United States
Click this link → Oppose Senate Tax Bill Which Harms the Poor and Marginalized –
to access Vincentian VoterVoice and send your message.
A telephone script and the phone numbers of your Senators are also available
at the link above if you prefer to call in your message!
Further background and questions about the Voice of the Poor.