Coalition Letter to Congress and President-Elect Obama RE: Economic Stimulus

January 13, 2009

Dear President-elect Obama (or Member of Congress):

As communities of faith, we are grounded in a shared vision of justice and compassion. We are called to be good stewards of God’s good Earth and work for justice for all of God’s people, particularly the most vulnerable among us. As you work out the details of a stimulus package to address the current economic crisis, we look for moral leadership that works for justice, stewardship, and sustainability for God’s community. The stimulus package should provide resources that not only stimulate our economy, but also fosters a renewal of mutual trust and accountability between our government and all its people, working for the common good.

A stimulus package should work to protect those people living in poverty from slipping further into the economic margins. It also should not recycle the bad practices of the past, but instead invest in a vibrant, sustainable economy that protects God’s creation and God’s people. In particular, any stimulus package should:

  • Provide food assistance to the rapidly growing number of working and recently unemployed families who are facing food insecurity.
  • Protect low-income families, both homeowners and renters, who have lost or are threatened with the loss of their homes as a result of the housing crisis, including support of local and state community development efforts focused on rebuilding communities facing massive foreclosures.
  • Ensure continued medical coverage for beneficiaries of Medicaid by increasing federal assistance to states.
  • Care for the growing number of children in poverty, who will be hardest hit by the recession by addressing the nutrition, health, and educational needs of low-income children.
  • Reflect a commitment to job training and job creation that benefits marginalized populations, with a special emphasis on jobs for low-income minorities and women, particularly in high-tech research and manufacturing and green jobs. In addition, the stimulus package should address racial and gender-based inequality in construction trades to ensure that women and people of color have access to infrastructure jobs. The stimulus package should also provide for jobs and job training that create a green jobs workforce.
  • Increase funding for workforce education so that those in low-income communities can attain academic skills and job training, particularly for unemployed and low-income students and in urban areas where high school graduation rates are low. In addition, the stimulus package should provide funds to repair crumbling public educational facilities.
  • Invest in clean, sustainable, and renewable energy sources and technology to improve energy efficiency and provide for a sustainable energy future. Our shared climate will also benefit from funding for transportation projects that provide viable transportation options for low-income people and do not increase our addiction to fossil fuels. In particular, the stimulus package should expand public transit access and redirect patterns of sprawl.

We currently stand at a crossroads and must use the stimulus package to invest in a future that lifts people who are living in poverty from the economic margins, creates an energy future rooted in sustainability, and provides a just transition into a new and vibrant economy that benefits all. Because we all share in the economic health of the nation, those living at the economic margins should be at placed at the heart of any economic recovery package.

Center of Concern
Church Women United
Columban Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Office
Conference of Major Superiors of Men
Disciples Center for Public Witness (Disciples of Christ)
Disciples Justice Action Network (Disciples of Christ)
Franciscan Action Network
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Leadership Conference of Women Religious
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
National Council of Churches USA
Union for Reform Judaism
Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations
United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries
Washington Office of Public Policy, Women's Division United Methodist Church