US lawmakers unite with faith leaders in advocation of 'Build Back Better'

Nancy Pelosi WikiCommons/ Gage Skidmore

Religion News reported that on Wednesday, Oct. 20, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, together with numerous Democratic lawmakers, had united with faith leaders in showing their advocacy of the "Build Back Better."

Lawmakers and Faith Leaders As One

Religion News detailed that Pelosi stood in front of a podium that read "Build Back Holy." She also noted Jesus' call in the Bible: "Let the little children come to me."

She then stated that lawmakers should copy Jesus's action of giving children 'the opportunity they deserve.'

Washington Interfaith Staff Community coordinated the news conference wherein various faith groups assembled a 12-hour vigil outside the Capitol. The  purpose was to show their advocacy of the bill "Build Back Better."

President Joe Biden and the lawmakers were reported to have scaled back from a $3.5 trillion spending bill to almost $2 trillion.

The speakers at the meeting had expressed their frustration about the possible cut. Their reaction centered on the attempts from Republicans and conservative Democrats, specifically West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, to scale back the proposed expansion of the child tax credit or child care provisions.

Nation Council of Jewish head Sheila Katz said that faith groups present in the conference prioritize infrastructures. "But we cannot ignore that child care is a vital part," she continued.

Katz noted 'human provisions in the Build Back Better agenda,' like street renovation, play an essential role in the economic restoration.

National Association of Evangelicals' Galen Carey supported the child tax credit and called it a 'smart investment.'

Connecticut Rep. Rosa DeLauro also expressed her support and willingness to fight for the expansion and improvement of the child tax credit. 

DeLauro stated that what inspires her are the 'basic principles of Catholic social teaching,' such as helping the poor, disadvantaged, oppressed people and children.

Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee asked to offer prayer for the lawmakers to 'be able to recognize each other's pain.' She added that now marks the time for prayer. 

Religious Activists Condemn Senate Filibuster

Aside from the child tax credit, the Senate filibuster also frustrates Lee. This Senate rule requires breaking the 60-vote ceiling to pass several significant bills.

The religious activists repeatedly call to eliminate the filibuster, for it hinders the passage of liberal legislation despite Democratic control of the Senate.

Voting right protest held on Tuesday outside the White House led to the arrest of some faith-based activists as they called for revision or the total removal of filibustering to pass the laws which secure voting rights.

A filibuster barred the Freedom to Vote Act bill on Wednesday afternoon - a voting rights legislation to appease Manchin.

Lee encouraged the crowd to pray for the elimination of the filibuster. She noted that it condemns life and humanity.

The Sojourners founder, the Rev. Jim Wallis, was confused on why opposing vaccines is defined as a religious issue and not 'helping the poor.'

"Read the Bible!" he added, pointing to conservative activists and lawmakers.

The Thoughts of Religious Speakers

Several religious speakers had shared their thoughts on Wednesday. Faith in Public life group, Rev. Jennifer Butler, called the potential cut "sinful"; Leadership Conference of Women Religious, Sister Carol Zinn defined that child tax credit is a "pro-life."

Jonah Pesner of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism headed the "Build Back Better" chant in the crowd; National Council of Churches, Rev. Leslie Copeland-Tune, concluded her speech with a prayer.

"We pray that we would have the courage to do what has to be done," she prayed.

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