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WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: Faith and Community Leaders Applaud House Passage of Build Back Better Act

November 19, 2021

Following the House passage of the Build Back Better Act, faith and community leaders applauded how the historic legislation will fight poverty and increase opportunity for vulnerable children and families while lowering costs, creating good-paying, union jobs, and dealing everybody into the economy.

As Nobel Prize-winning economists and independent ratings agencies have confirmed, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Build Back Better Act are fully paid for, will reduce the deficit, and ease inflationary pressures by making the wealthiest individuals and corporations pay their fair share and stopping them from cheating on their tax bills.

Faith and community leaders from across the country are applauding the passage of the historic legislation through the House and urging the Senate to take urgent action so President Biden can sign it into law and ensure we can build back better.

See below for what they are saying:

Rev. Eugene Cho, President and CEO, Bread for the World: "The fact the House was able to pass a bill right before Thanksgiving that will help millions of families put food on the table should not be lost. As we enter the Christmas season, we are reminded that God requires us to care for our neighbors and provide food for those who experience hunger. We urge senators to keep this in mind as they work to pass their own version of the bill." [Statement, 11/19/2021]

Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner, Co-Conveners, National African American Clergy Network: "National African American Clergy Network of denominations & independent church leaders applaud Biden Admin & House of Rep for passing the transformational Build Back Better Bill including vital Child Tax Credit, Affordable Housing & HBCU infrastructure support." [Tweet, 11/19/2021]

Angela F. Williams, President and CEO, United Way Worldwide: "This morning, the House of Representatives passed the #BuildBackBetter Act. The bill includes key @UnitedWay priorities for children and families. This would not have been possible without the voices of United Way and our #UWadvocate to work for America's equitable rebuilding. Together, we met with members of Congress from 25 states this week and sent hundreds of emails to legislators. Our message was simple: Congress must enact bold, long-term, and equitable solutions to support and strengthen our communities. Programs such as child care, affordable housing, health care and mental health services, tax credits for families, emergency food and shelter, @211Help, workforce development and #Relief4Charities are critical to ensure our communities can rebuild stronger and more equitably. The #CTC and #EITC were only expanded for tax year 2021. We can't allow them to expire. Families' expenses aren't going away in a year. These two credits are the most effective tools we have to give families the boost they need to lift themselves out of poverty. Thank you to #POTUS and our congressional leaders for your commitment to building stronger, more equitable communities. We look forward to working together to continue the fight for the expansions of #CTC and #EITC!" [Tweet, 11/19/2021]

Abby J. Leibman, President & CEO of MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger: "Our Jewish values compel us to repair the brokenness of our world, to lift up the dignity of every human being and prevent people from falling into hardship by working to address systemic inequality. Building back better is repairing the world — it's knowing that we must not return to broken systems of the past, but find what works to create lasting, meaningful change. We call on the Senate to quickly pass the Build Back Better Act and send it to President Biden's desk without delay. An economy that works for all must include vital investments in federal nutrition programs and an extension of the Child Tax Credit, which has already proven to significantly reduce food insecurity in this country." [Statement, 11/19/2021]

Bishop Teresa Jefferson-Snorton, Bishop of the 5th Episcopal District of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church (CME) and Chair of the NCC Governing Board: "The Bible points out the inequities between the poor and the rich and makes known that these disparities are contrary to God's will. We are called to secure the well-being of God's people and therefore we applaud every advancement toward this end in the Build Back Better Act and call for its passage so the funding can make the transformative difference in our society that we know is possible." [Statement, 11/19/2021]

Mary J. Novak, Executive Director of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice: "I applaud each member of the House who voted yes on the Build Back Better Act for their courageous and moral action. By supporting this transformative legislation, you support a future that is more racially equitable and economically just. I encourage on all Senators to pass this life-giving legislation immediately. Vulnerable families and communities cannot wait. The perpetuation of the racial wealth and income gap in the United States is scandalous. The tax provisions included in this bill will reduce racial economic disparities exacerbated by the pandemic by targeting income produced by wealth, including corporate wealth. This critical, justice-oriented legislation will help our families and communities recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and work to dismantle racism in our systems and structures." [Statement, 11/19/2021]

United Church of Christ: "As people of faith, we believe in honoring the dignity of our neighbor and investing in every family and community so we all may flourish. The #BuildBackBetterBill helps bring us back into right relationship with one another by addressing longstanding racial and gender inequities that have only been exacerbated by the pandemic and takes meaningful steps to recognize and address our role in the #ClimateCrisis. In the @unitedchurch, we often use the phrase, towards a just world for all; knowing it is possible to build back an economy that recognizes the dignity of all, honors our interconnectivity with nature, and offers a better future for our children. We celebrate the work that has gotten us to this point and pray that swift action is taken in the Senate to pass #BuildBackBetter - so we can take significant strides towards building that just world for all." [Tweet, 11/19/2021]

Rabbi Jason Kimelman-Block, Washington Director of Bend the Arc: Jewish Action: "We applaud House lawmakers for fulfilling the promises they made to the American people to invest in our shared future by passing the Build Back Better Act. For the first time in a generation, Congress is passing legislation that centers economic justice with robust investments in our families, children, essential workers, air and water, thanks to the incredible work of activists and organizers who have been fighting for decades to build a country where every single person can thrive." [Statement, 11/19/2021]

Tori Goebel, Young Evangelicals for Climate Action: "Today, the United States House of Representatives passed the Build Back Better Act. This act would be the largest effort to address climate change in American history while also creating jobs and lowering energy costs. As Christians, we are called to love God and love our neighbors (Matthew 22:34-40). Addressing the climate crisis is a meaningful way of doing both better. With today's passage of the Build Back Better Act in the House of Representatives, we are one step closer to a brighter, more just future for everyone." [Statement, 11/19/2021]

The Episcopal Church: "The Episcopal Church applauds the passage of H.R.5376, the Build Back Better Act in the House of Representatives. This transformative legislation will reduce child poverty, expand health care, make the tax system fairer, and invest vital funds in our effort to confront the climate crisis. Our values as a people of faith call us to advocate for the most vulnerable in our society, whom this legislation will uplift. We thank all the members who voted in favor of the bill and encourage the Senate to take up and pass the legislation as quickly as possible." [Statement, 11/19/2021]

Diane Randall, General Secretary, Friends Committee on National Legislation (Quakers): "The Build Back Better bill is a momentous step toward a society with equity, justice, and an earth restored. It continues the historic expansions of the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit which could cut child poverty nearly in half. It makes significant progress in reducing economic and racial and disparities throughout our country on issues affecting children and families that have not been addressed in decades. As Quakers, we believe in supporting people and lifting their communities. That is the essence of seeing the Light of God in others. This bill does that and goes farther than any other legislation in recent history. Investing in society and our common well-being is an investment in our country's and planet's future. I urge the Senate to pass it immediately." [Statement, 11/19/2021]

Rev. Jim Wallis, Chair and Director, Georgetown Center on Faith and Justice: "Congress is on the precipice of making an historic investment in families that could lift millions of children out of poverty. I will be praying and watching closely to ensure that critical elements, especially those that support poor people, make it into the final bill. #BBBAct" [Tweet, 11/19/2021]

Christy Gleason, Executive Director, Save the Children Action Network: "Thank you to all of the @SCActionNetwork advocates and partners who have brought us to this moment - a House of Representatives vote on universal pre-K, expanded child care, and money to fight child hunger. #BuildBackBetterAct" [Tweet, 11/19/2021]

Deborah Weinstein, Executive Director, Coalition on Human Needs: "The House of Representatives made history this morning, and every Representative who voted YES on the Build Back Better Act can be proud of his or her action. The House Members who voted for H.R. 5376 deserve our thanks for pressing forward with President Biden's historic investment agenda. Failure to enact Build Back Better would plunge millions of children back into poverty; its enactment will continue the unprecedented anti-poverty achievements of the expanded Child Tax Credit. Sixty-one million children will continue to benefit, helping 39 million families to make ends meet. Families across America have coped with trying to work without paid leave, without affordable child care, with inadequate pay and benefits, worried about their aging relatives on years-long waiting lists for home care services, and worried that their children are not getting the education they need. Build Back Better will invest in good health care, child care, home care, and green jobs, meeting our urgent needs and expanding careers with family-sustaining wages. We will add 300,000 rental housing vouchers and build more affordable housing. We will ensure children have nutritious school and summer meals. Even now, more than 9 million adults living with children have said that they did not have enough to eat in the previous week. We have to invest to stop this threat to our children's well-being; this legislation will help us Build Back Better." [Statement, 11/19/2021]

Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, on behalf of the Union for Reform Judaism, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, and the wider Reform Movement institutions: "We commend the House of Representatives for passing the Build Back Better Act, an essential bill that will invest in and help address the enduring health and economic disparities exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, begin to mitigate the looming climate crisis, support childcare and pre-k education, and more. Judaism teaches us to 'speak up, judge righteously, champion the poor and the needy (Proverbs 31:9).' These words inspire our commitment to supporting the millions of families struggling to put food on the table, keep a roof over their heads, manage medical expenses, care for family members, or enjoy equitable access to education that allows people to fulfill their potential. We urge the Senate to swiftly pass the Build Back Better Act and invest in an equitable recovery for America's communities and families." [Statement, 11/19/2021]

Rev. Mitch Hescox and Dr. Jessica Moerman, Evangelical Environmental Network: "The Bible instructs us to leave a good inheritance to future generations (Proverbs 13:22). With today's passage of the Build Back Better Act in the House of Representatives, we are one step closer to giving our children a bright and healthy future that we can be proud to pass down. The climate and pollution crises ravaging our communities confront us with a crucial 'you can pay me now or pay me later' decision. While this bill bears a large price tag, it pales in comparison to the price tag of climate inaction, which carries unimaginable and inexcusable costs, in lives as well as dollars. This year alone, climate-fueled extreme weather has cost our economy a record-breaking $105 billion in property and infrastructure damage and over 500 lives lost. Today's choice to pass the most ambitious and transformative climate and clean energy investments in our nation's history will reverberate throughout the generations that follow, making our air purer, our communities safer, our economy stronger, and our families and neighbors healthier." [Statement, 11/19/2021]

Rev. Jennifer Butler, CEO, Faith in Public Life Action: "For months, people of all faiths have worked and prayed for legislation that builds a Holy Recovery and helps us all thrive. House Democrats heeded our cry by passing the historic, life-saving Build Back Better Act that invests in all of us. This is a moral milestone that honors the dignity of all Americans, not just a wealthy few. Now it's time for Senators to finish the job. I commend House Democrats for passing a morally responsible package with so many provisions that will help our families thrive -- from historic investments in healthcare and the workers who provide it, to paid family and medical leave, to affordable housing and childcare, to the largest-ever investments in combating climate change, and so much more. These desperately needed policies will be paid for by ensuring that the wealthiest few Americans pay their fair share of taxes." [Statement, 11/19/2021]

Rev. Carlos Malave, Latino Christian National Network: "The Build Back Better bill will reduce inequality, spread opportunity, and create the conditions to bring millions of Americans out of poverty. The bill will set in motion an aggressive plan to confront the existential threat of global warming. It is an aggressive and bold plan to support American (including Latino) families of today and for generations to come. Latinos thank the House of Representatives for moving the bill forward and urge the U.S. Senate to pass the legislation without delay." [Tweet, 11/19/2021]

Rev. Adam Taylor, President, Sojourners: "As President of Sojourners—a faith-based advocacy organization that represents and mobilizes thousands of Christian leaders and believers across our country and an award-winning publication dedicated to issues of social justice that span faith, politics, and culture—I want to thank and congratulate the House of Representatives for passing the Build Back Better Act (H.R. 5376) and now strongly urge all members of the Senate to promptly pass this Act. The House version includes pro-family, anti-poverty provisions such as expansion of the Child Tax Credit for another year and makes the full refundability of the credit permanent. The bill also would also increase access to affordable housing; make overdue improvements in maternal, newborn, and child health; address the ongoing climate crisis; and provide help to millions of essential workers, immigrants, and TPS holders—all while creating jobs, lowering costs for millions, and making the wealthy and corporations pay their fair share." [Statement, 11/19/2021]

Sheila Katz, CEO, National Council of Jewish Women: "Build Back Better is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to change how our country supports women, children and families. Thanks to the House passage of this bill, we are one step closer to expanding access to affordable health care, addressing maternal health issues, investing in early childhood education, funding housing and nutrition assistance, combating child poverty and creating a national paid family and medical leave program. Jewish tradition teaches us to recognize the dignity of every human being, kavod habriot. Build Back Better demonstrates that investing in human beings and their inherent dignity is essential to creating a vibrant economy and equitable nation. Now it's time for the Senate to take necessary action and get this bill to President Biden's desk." [Statement, 11/19/2021]

Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, Co-Chair, Poor People's Campaign: "Supporters of the #PoorPeoplesCampaign, this morning when you see the House voting on the #BuildBackBetter plan, you see the work of all of you who marched and pushed and told your stories, saying voting against this plan was voting against you." [Tweet, 11/19/2021]

Presbyterian Church USA: "The Presbyterian Church (USA), Office of Public Witness applauds the passage of Build Back Better in the House of Representatives. This is critical legislation that will aid our country in recovering from the pandemic and give essential resources to people in need!" [Tweet, 11/19/2021]

Elana Broitman, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs, Jewish Federations of North America: "Recognizing that critical negotiations remain, we are pleased that Jewish Federations' priorities including funding for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, home-based care for older adults and people with disabilities, and extensions of the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credits remain in the House-passed bill." [Tweet, 11/19/2021]

Rev. David Beckmann, Coordinator, Circle of Protection: "We have cause to celebrate Thanksgiving a week early! Together with the other economic packages that have been enacted this year, the #BuildBackBetter bill will make our nation's economy so much more just, sustainable & prosperous. #PovertyGodPolitics" [Tweet, 11/19/2021]

Meredith Owen, Director of Advocacy and Policy, Church World Service: "The Build Back Better Act is an important step forward that will benefit millions of lives. We will continue to fight until a pathway to citizenship is secured for all of our undocumented community members. Lasting equitable recovery requires meaningful investments in our communities, and we commend the investments this legislation makes in housing access, extending the Child Tax Credit, and other key priorities. We turn our attention to the Senate and urge swift passage of this legislation." [Statement, 11/19/2021]

Interfaith Power and Light: "The #BuildBackBetterAct puts America on a path to a cleaner and more just future. As people of faith, we commend the House for passing the BBBA! Now, we need the Senate to follow suit and #ActOnClimate to uplift communities across the country! #Faith4Climate" [Tweet, 11/19/2021]

Laura Peralta-Schulte, NETWORK Senior Director of Public Policy and Government Affairs: "This vote to Build Back Better fulfills the promise of the Affordable Care Act by closing the Medicaid coverage gap while addressing the Black maternal mortality crisis, cuts taxes for low income families by expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit and the transformative Child Tax Credit, provides paid and medical leave for people to care for themselves, their infants and loved ones, increases access to safe and affordable housing, and so much more. This legislation faithfully promotes the dignity of each human person mirroring Pope Francis' call to 'effectively seek the good of all people.' Now it is time for the Senate to pass the Build Back Better Act, which will transform the lives of millions and ensure the wealthy and corporations pay their fair share to support the common good." [Statement, 11/19/2021]

Latter-day Saints for Biden Harris: "By passing the Build Back Better Act, House Democrats stood up for America's families and invested in greater self-reliance for us and our children, now and into our shared future. While every country around the world has faced problems in the wake of Covid, new data from the OECD show that our nation's economy is the first to rebound past our pre-pandemic peak. We are thankful for the prudent investments from the Biden-Harris administration and Congressional Democrats, including this spring's American Rescue Plan, which helped schools reopen and every American adult who wanted a vaccine to receive one." [Statement, 11/19/2021]

Rabbi Jennie Rosenn, Founder and CEO of Dayenu: A Jewish Call to Climate Action: "Today, the House of Representatives took a long overdue step toward addressing the climate crisis. The United States government is finally on the precipice of approving transformative investments in clean energy solutions that will lead to a more just and sustainable future for all. In this week's Torah portion, we read about the generations that follow our biblical ancestors, and God promises: 'I will make your offspring as numerous as the grains of sand along the sea.' Our collective future is at stake today – and our fight is far from over." [Statement, 11/19/2021]

Fran Eskin-Royer, Executive Director, National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd: "The National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd cheers the House passage of the Build Back Better Act and impresses upon the Senate the urgency of moving on this bill so it may become law. The heart of this historic act is a desire to re-imagine how we serve our neighbors, how we prioritize our neighbors, how we level the playing field. We are creating a 'new normal' through policy and structures, chipping away at the inequities that exist and building up a stronger future for all of us. The fallout from Covid-19 has exposed the cracks in our economic and healthcare systems, cracks that children, families, people of color, immigrants, people with disabilities are falling through. In passing the Build Back Better Act, the House of Representatives has invested in the future of our country, a future where health care, childcare, housing, education and good jobs are available to all."

American Jewish Congress: "The #BuildBackBetterAct is a landmark piece of legislation that will help working families & striving Americans. We salute its passage in the House of Representatives and look forward to seeing it approved in the Senate & signed into law by @POTUS soon." [Tweet, 11/19/2021]

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA Network: "This legislation means that Puerto Rico can access more resources that the island desperately needs. Faced with high poverty rates, debt crisis and natural disasters, Puerto Rico can really use the aid." [Statement, 11/19/2021]

Joseph R. Biden, WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: Faith and Community Leaders Applaud House Passage of Build Back Better Act Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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