If there is among you anyone in need, a member of your community in any of your towns within the land that the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hard-hearted or tight-fisted toward your needy neighbor. You should rather open your hand, willingly lending enough to meet the need, whatever it may be. Deuteronomy 15:7-8 NRSV
November 19, 2021, Washington, DC – The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) applauds the House of Representatives for passing the Build Back Better Act and urges the Senate to vote for its passage immediately. We firmly hold that the BBB Act will alleviate poverty and change the economic future for millions of low-income families who have been left behind for far too long.
Jesus told us that the kingdom of God belongs to the little children so the NCC embraces the BBB Act’s provisions that will create a brighter future for our children by providing universal pre-k for 3 and 4-year-olds and ensuring that childcare is affordable for many families so parents can work, look for work, or get job training.
One of the National Council of Churches’ 2021 priorities is to expand the Child Tax Credit (CTC), which most families use to cover the cost of food, housing, health care, and transportation, so we affirm its extension for one year in the BBB Act. We will continue to advocate for its permanent implementation.
The NCC has called for the administration to address the health disparities that have been laid bare during the pandemic. As we have fully supported healthcare for all, we approve of the provisions in the BBB Act that will expand access to healthcare, including the Affordable Care Act premium tax credits for up to 4 million uninsured people in states that denied them access to Medicaid and the reduced premiums for more than 9 million Americans because of the extension of the expanded Premium Tax Credit. We also acknowledge that the care made available for older Americans and people with disabilities in their homes will make a substantial difference in their ongoing quality of life.
As educational disparities persist, the NCC maintains that investing in education will create thriving futures for those who have been barred from success by the systematic racism in this nation. As the BBB Act will increase the maximum Pell Grant by $550 for the more than 5 million students enrolled in public and private, non-profit colleges, and expand access to DREAMers, we know this will help undergraduate students, especially the more than 75% of undergraduate Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) students who rely on Pell Grants to pay for college expenses. We also affirm the Act’s investment in HBCUs, Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and minority-serving institutions (MSIs) to build their capacity, modernize their research infrastructure, and provide financial aid to their low-income students.
We affirm that the funding provided by the Act for the construction, rehabilitation, and improvement of more than 1 million affordable homes which will boost the housing supply and reduce price pressures for renters and homeowners is commendable and begins to meet our call for the basic human need of housing for all people.
In addition, this important legislation positively impacts people returning from incarceration, as all of these provisions do not prohibit those convicted of drug felonies from receiving aid, which is another NCC priority.
“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.” – 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 National Council of Churches has long fought to end poverty. This is a historic step toward that goal. We call for the quick passage of the Build Back Better Act in the Senate so that President Biden can sign this legislation and bring us closer to righting the wrongs of the damaging systems that cause the suffering from poverty in our nation.” – Jim Winkler, NCC President and General Secretary.