Funding Our Priorities

February 23, 2011

Early Saturday February 19 the House of Representatives passed legislation (H.R. 1)

MCC/Melissa Engle

that would cut federal spending by $61 billion.  The cuts come mainly in programs dedicated to assistance for vulnerable populations in the U.S. and internationally.


You can let your Senators know that this approach to the budget is neither responsible nor just.

Together, these two areas of the budget represent just 15 percent of U.S. spending.  Although the same legislation requests  a defense budget 3 percent lower than the President’s 2011 request, it is still $8 billion higher than 2010 levels.  Defense spending represents over 50 percent of U.S. discretionary (not mandatory) spending.

The math is questionable: how can we address the deficit without addressing the most expensive portion of the budget?  Even beyond military spending, H.R. 1 fails to adequately address a number of root causes of the nation’s deficit.

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Putting the BP oil disaster in context.

May 4, 2010

Flickr/New Orleans Lady

As we watch the growing oil spill off of the Gulf Coast, I wonder about the vulnerable communities I visited in the area at the end of March.  While visiting with MCC service worker Pam Nath, we drove to the Gulf in order to see the affects of continual wetland and coastal erosion in Louisiana.  Dangerous eroding since 1920 has depleted this natural barrier for hurricanes and adversely affected historic communities based on the water.

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Vice President Biden announces aid for New Orleans

January 20, 2010

On Friday, January 15th, Vice President Biden announced in New Orleans the administration’s plans to support recovery.  These plans, focused on alleviating housing burdens, bring two pieces of  good news for the area:

  • approximately 100 local governments which borrowed federal funds for recovery purposes (due to be repaid by 2011) are being granted the opportunity to apply for either full or partial forgiveness and;
  • $29.7 million from last year’s stimulus funds will be given to rehabilitate existing homes and apartments which are currently inhabitable.

Both forgiveness of loans and the new funds will allow New Orleans to emphasize rehabilitating housing units that were damaged in the hurricanes. Nearly 31% of New Orleans homes are unoccupied because of such damage.  Although this percentage has decreased slightly in recent years, it still reveals the depth of need for rehabilitation of existing apartments and houses.

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4th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina

August 28, 2009

katrina satelliteAugust 29 marks four years since Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the U.S. Gulf Coast. Despite the progress that has been made, much rebuilding still remains and many residents struggle to find affordable housing and living-wage jobs.

One way to support residents of the Gulf Coast is by asking your representative to co-sponsor the Gulf Coast Civic Works Act (H.R. 2269). The legislation aims to build stronger and more equitable communities, by creating 100,000 green jobs for hurricane survivors rebuilding communities and restoring the environment. Read more about the bill here.

This August 29, please pray and act on behalf of those whose lives were changed forever by Hurricane Katrina.

U.N. Fact-Finding Mission to Visit New Orleans

July 22, 2009

CS 05-40-33Members of the United Nations’ Advisory Group on Forced Evictions will conduct a fact-finding mission in New Orleans July 26-31.

The Advisory Group will look at ongoing issues related to the displacement of Gulf Coast residents following Hurricane Katrina. The City of New Orleans has approved the demolition of 4,500 public housing units, with plans to replace only 750. Earlier U.N. reports have found significant racial disparities in Katrina’s impact on African American residents.

The Advisory Group will meet with government officials and local residents, and plans to issue a public report.

Abundant Life: Economic Justice for All Campaign

June 23, 2009


MCC Washington Office invites congregations and individuals to participate in its Abundant Life: Economic Justice for All Campaign. The Washington Office will be focusing on four specific areas of U.S. policy in which we see potential for taking steps toward greater justice.  In this time of economic crisis,  please consider taking one or more of the following Sundays to pray, reflect and act for economic justice for all.

July 19, 2009 - And Many Were Healed: Health Care for All

October 25, 2009 – Proclaim Jubilee: A New Beginning

January 31, 2010 – Secure Dwelling Places: A Home for Everyone

April 25, 2010 – Let Justice Roll Down: Trade for the Common Good

Resources and information are available at or by calling 202-544-6564.

“Still in the Eye of a Hurricane”

June 12, 2009

katrinaRachelle Lyndaker Schlabach notes in Third Way Cafe that the 2009 hurricane season is starting, which is a reminder that many residents of the Gulf Coast are still reeling from the effects of Katrina and Rita:

This week marked the start of hurricane season. Nearly four years after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck the Gulf Coast, the human disaster brought on by those storms continues. Poverty and racism compounded the effects of the storm but are too often not taken into account in the process of rebuilding.

Mennonite Central Committee worked in New Orleans before the storms and re-established a presence there in response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. MCC’s work in the region supports the movement for justice, based on the basic principle that everyone has the right to return home.

As hurricane season opens this week, please consider taking three actions:

  1. Pray for those along the Gulf Coast.
  2. Encourage your representative to co-sponsor H.R. 2269.
  3. Support MCC’s work in New Orleans.

The full article is available at


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