Bishops urge action on conscience protection for health care workers

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The chairmen of the U.S. bishops' pro-life and religious freedom committees have asked U.S. Catholics to contact members of Congress and urge them to enact the Conscience Protection Act as part of the funding bill for fiscal year 2018.

Congress faces a March 23 deadline to approve an omnibus appropriations measure that likely would fund the government through the fiscal year ending Sept. 30. Lawmakers will consider whether to include the Conscience Protection Act of 2017 in the bill.

Congress urged to ‘fix fundamental flaws’ in final tax reform bill

Graduate students rallied against the proposed federal tax reform bill Nov. 29 in New York City. Congress must “fix the fundamental flaws” in both the Senate and House versions of the tax bill as lawmakers try to reach an agreement on a final bill, said the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ domestic policy committee.

WASHINGTON — In a new letter to members of Congress, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Fla., outlined a sweeping package of changes in pending tax reform legislation to ensure the final bill is "morally acceptable."

Catholic leaders: Health care reform bill must uphold moral principles

Health care activists protested the Republican health care bill July 17 at the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington. The bill collapsed in the Senate later that day after two more GOP senators said they couldn’t support it.

WASHINGTON — After efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act collapsed late July 17 in the U.S. Senate, Catholic health care leaders said they hope Congress will work together, in small steps, to fix flaws in the current legislation.

The bill lost ground when two Republican senators announced their opposition to it, joining two other senators who opposed the bill and leaving Republican leaders at least two votes short of the 50 needed to start debate on the measure.

Catholics in Congress: one-third of House, one-quarter of Senate

WASHINGTON — The religious makeup of the 115th Congress is significantly Christian — 91 percent — with Catholics comprising one-third of the House of Representatives and about a quarter of the Senate.

Overall, there are six fewer Christians in the new Congress, at 485 members. But there are four more Catholics, who now total 168.

The high percentage of Christians in Congress is similar to the 87th Congress in 1961, the first year such information was collected. At the time, 95 percent of Congress members were Christian.

Prelates say House bill would protect religious freedom at federal level

WASHINGTON — The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held a hearing July 12 on the First Amendment Defense Act, a bill two U.S archbishops said would provide "a measure of protection for religious freedom at the federal level."

The legislation was introduced June 17 by Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho. The same day Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, introduced the measure as S. 1598 in the Senate. Members of Congress adjourned July 14 for a seven-week recess.

Kenrick-Glennon Seminary watch party shows appreciation pope's historic address to Congress

In his address to Congress on Sept. 24, Pope Francis touched on familiar topics -- the poor, immigration, the sanctity of life, religious freedom, the environment.

However, the lasting impact of his historic speech might not be so much what he said but the venue in which he said it ... and the people to whom he said it.

Republicans and Democrats, members of the House of Representatives and the Senate, and Supreme Court justices came together to hear the pope's speech to a joint meeting of Congress – the first time a pope has addressed Congress.

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