The Common Good


Sojomail - May 25, 2001

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    S O J O M A I L  S P E C I A L  E D I T I O N

This week SojoMail brings you an urgent message in 
support of the refundable child tax credit, which 
could help many families and children in poverty. We 
will return next week with our usual format.

P o l i t i c a l l y  C o n n e c t      


A House/Senate conference committee is meeting today 
to negotiate a final tax bill. News reports indicate 
that the refundable child tax credit passed by the 
Senate is a "flashpoint" that is at risk of being dropped. 
The conference is expected to finish its deliberations 
very quickly, perhaps as soon as later today (Thursday).
Yesterday, a delegation of religious leaders convened by
Call to Renewal met with staff members of the 
Republican House and Senate leadership to urge that the 
refundable child tax credit in the Senate tax bill be 
retained in conference. The Senate version 
provides a refundable credit of 15 percent of earnings 
over $10,000, extending the benefit of a tax cut to 
those families who are too poor to owe federal 
income tax, although they pay other taxes.
(For more details, see below.) 

Meetings were held with staff from the offices of Sens. 
Trent Lott and Rick Santorum and Rep. J.C. Watts.  
Santorum and Watts have been the key members of 
Congress pressing the president's faith-based initiative. 
Our message to them, as today's New York Times 
reported Jim Wallis saying, was: "If this tax cut is passed 
without help for the poor then it will be very difficult for us 
to support them on faith-based issues." 

Your calls are urgently needed to support the Senate 
version of the Child Tax Credit.

Republican leaders have not been in favor of the 
refundable child tax credit, and the White House 
has not supported it. BUT if certain key senators 
who have supported the refundable child tax credit 
hold firm and say they will not vote for a final 
tax cut bill that does not include it, we can prevail.


President George W. Bush (202-456-1414).
Leave a message that the refundable child tax 
credit is of great importance to the faith community 
as a concrete way to help low-income working 
families, and ask that the president instruct the 
conferees that he wants the Senate version of 
the tax credit in the bill that reaches his desk.

If you live in these states, call these senators, 
thank them for supporting the credit, and urge them 
to tell the Senate leadership that they will vote against 
a final tax cut bill that does not include the Senate 
version of the Child Tax Credit. (Ask to speak to an 
aide working on tax issues; leave a detailed message 
if they're not in.)

Max Baucus (D-Montana)(202-224-2651)
Christopher ("Kit") Bond (R-Missouri) (202-224-5721)
John Breaux (D-Louisiana) (202-224-4623)
Conrad Burns (R-Montana) (202-224-2644)
Lincoln Chafee (R-Rhode Island) (202-224-2921)
Thad Cochran (R-Mississippi) (202-224-5054)
Susan Collins (R-Maine) (202-224-2523)
Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) (202-224-2315
Pete Domenici (R-Colorado) (202-224-6621
Peter Fitzgerald (R-Illinois) (202-224-2854)
Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) (202-224-5251)
James Jeffords (I-Vermont) (202-224-5141)
John McCain (R-Arizona) (202-224-2235)
Arlen Specter (R-Pennsylvania) (202-224-4254)
Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) (202-224-3004)

Calls could also be made to:

Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), 
Chair of the Senate Finance Committee 

Rep. Bill Thomas (R-California), 
Chair of the House Committee 
on Ways and Means (202-224-2915)

The Senate's refundable child tax credit would benefit 
working families with incomes of more than $10,000. In 
its final deliberations yesterday, the Senate passed by a 
94-4 vote a resolution sponsored by Sen. Olympia 
Snowe expressing support for the credit. In addition, 14 
Republican senators signed a letter saying that the 
provision was "an essential component" of the tax bill. 

The Call to Renewal delegation told the leadership yesterday
that faith-based organizations being praised by the 
president for their important role in overcoming poverty 
strongly believe the refundable credit is a significant policy 
measure that could help lift families and children out of 

Wallis said, "In his Notre Dame speech on Sunday, 
President Bush correctly noted, 'When over 12 
million children live below the poverty line, we are not a 
post-poverty America.' And he went on to say, 
'Government has an important role.' The refundable 
child tax credit would be a significant benefit to 
America's poorest families, helping to lift some of those 
millions of children out of poverty. We urge the 
president to support it."

The delegation convened by Call to Renewal included
representatives of the United States Catholic 
Conference, the Christian Community Development 
Association, the Congress of National Black Churches, 
World Vision, Evangelicals for Social Action, and the 
Mennonite Central Committee.
For further information, see:

* In today's New York Times: "Some of the religious 
groups among the strongest supporters of the 
president's [faith-based] initiative went to Capitol Hill this 
week to tell Republican lawmakers that continued 
support would be linked to tax breaks for the working 
poor. They said the initiative was aimed at helping the 
poor broadly, through policies like the refundable child 
tax credit, which was not part of the $1.3 trillion tax bill 
passed earlier by the House."

* Column by Jim Wallis on BeliefNet:
Biblical Archaeology and Tax Cuts
What would the prophets say about Bush's economic 

* Press release from Sen. Olympia Snowe on her 
resolution: "The United States Senate Wednesday gave 
overwhelming bipartisan support to retaining the 
refundable child tax credit sponsored by U.S. Sen. 
Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine)."


SojoFest 2001:  A Celebration of Hope

And you're invited.

Join us this summer, July 26-29, near Chicago
to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Sojourners
magazine. We've been working hard and we're ready
to celebrate. Don't miss this chance to reconnect
with old friends and make new ones. Click here to
learn more about the festivities and speakers,
registration options, and facilities:

**********************SOJOURNERS FORUMS*****************************

Respond to articles from the new issue of Sojourners in 
interactive online forums!

Currently Featuring:

*Faith-Based Brou-ha-ha:
When church meets state, can they cooperate without being co-opted?
   Respond to an interview with John DiIulio, head of the new
   White House Office on Faith-Based and Community Initiatives

*Emerging Spiritualities
Are our faith communities dying - or simply changing shape?

   Share your thoughts on the relevance of religious
   institutions in a postmodern society

Go to:



Call to Renewal, a faith-based movement to overcome
poverty, seeks an Executive Director. The successful
candidate must understand and be committed to the
strategic vision of Call to Renewal, have a fundamental
appreciation for and understanding of the relationship
between faith and politics, and be able to move with dignity
and competence in a variety of communities. The position
requires excellent managerial, communication, and development
skills, a commitment to follow through on relationships
and tasks, and an ability to build bridges among the
various traditions in the church (e.g., Catholic,
Mainline Protestant, pentecostal, evangelical, black
churches, and para-church ministries), as well as
with people working in the realm of media and politics.
A dynamic and energetic personality who is conducive to 
working with a wide diversity of people is highly desirable.

The Executive Director will be based in Washington, D.C.
and will function as the chief operating officer of the
Call to Renewal movement, working closely with the board
of directors and reporting directly to the convener and
president, Jim Wallis.

Salary commensurate with experience. Send resume to:

Peter Borgdorff
Christian Reformed Church
2850 Kalamazoo Ave. SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49560
fax (616) 224-5895

************************NEW SOJOPOLL*************************

The case of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh has 
focused national attention on the death penalty. Which 
choice best describes your opinion on this issue? 

[] The death penalty should be abolished. 
[] I generally oppose the death penalty, but 
   McVeigh deserves it. 
[] The current system is flawed, but the death 
   penalty is just and is appropriate for McVeigh. 
[] I support the death penalty without reservation. 

Vote your conscience at:


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