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Press Release: NETWORK’s Statement on Fiscal Cliff Vote

FOR RELEASE: January 1, 2013
CONTACT: Stephanie Niedringhaus, 202-347-9797 x224, sniedringhaus@networklobby.org

[Update: 10:58 PM, January 1 - We also extend our appreciation to the House of Representatives, which has just voted for the agreement.]

Washington DC: NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby, is grateful that the administration and the Senate have worked out an agreement to move forward to responsibly funding our nation while protecting those who work in low-wage jobs. We have advocated for a “Faithful Budget” that raises “reasonable revenue for responsible programs.” Our reading of the current agreement is that, while not including everything we had advocated for, it does provide a significant step forward toward responsible, faithful policies.

Most critical to us is the five-year extension of the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit. These programs are two of the most effective anti-poverty programs in the United States. The extension of Unemployment Insurance for the long-term unemployed is an essential support for the many who are still looking for work in our fragile economy. Additionally, the extension of the American Opportunity Tax Credit (helping families pay for college for their children) also is critical for families in their attempt to pay for higher education.

The ending of the Bush-era tax cuts for the top 2% of families in our nation is a historic step in rebalancing our tax code so that those who have benefited the most from our economy pay their fair share to support it. Some of the details are also important as the tax on capital gains is also restored to prior levels. These provisions and others are proper steps forward to achieve a more balanced economy.

Finally, we are grateful that none of the adverse consequences of sequester will take effect, especially on vulnerable safety-net programs. However, we are concerned that there will continue to be the threat of sequester on key social programs, including food assistance and other supports for low income people. We affirm the agreement that any future cuts must be shared between the Pentagon and key domestic programs. However we must note that these very domestic programs have already taken the lion’s share of the prior cuts. We urge the administration and Congress to continue to work to protect the most vulnerable working families in our society.

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