Obama touts immigration reform, health carecomment (0)
February 6, 2014
While President Obama gave a nod to religious leaders on the economy, immigration and gun violence in his fifth State of the Union on Jan. 28, his speech nonetheless included little mention of faith.
“[I]f we’re serious about economic growth, it is time to heed the call of business leaders, labor leaders, faith leaders, law enforcement — and fix our broken immigration system,” the president said.
“Independent economists say immigration reform will grow our economy and shrink our deficits by almost $1 trillion in the next two decades,” he said. “And for good reason: When people come here to fulfill their dreams — to study, invent, contribute to our culture — they make our country a more attractive place for businesses to locate and create jobs for everybody. So let’s get immigration reform done this year.”
Congress is seeking to address what is widely acknowledged as a deeply flawed system that has resulted in an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living illegally in the United States.
In 2013 the Senate approved a broad immigration reform bill, which needs some repair work, according to the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC). The House of Representatives took a piecemeal approach, with committees forwarding measures dealing with strengthening border security and providing visas for guest workers.
The House’s Republican majority discussed principles for immigration reform at a three-day retreat that began Jan. 29.
The Evangelical Immigration Table (EIT) — a coalition of evangelical leaders promoting a solution that will secure the borders, respect the law and authorize a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants — placed in the Jan. 29 issue of USA Today a full-page ad telling House Republicans: “We’re Praying for You.”
The ad lists the EIT’s principles for the GOP representatives to consider and says, “We pray God will show you a path forward that honors the rule of law (Rom. 13) and the call to welcome the stranger (Matt. 25).”
ERLC President Russell D. Moore is one of the 11 evangelical leaders who make up the EIT.
On health care, Obama cited some of the results of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. More than 3 million people under 26 years of age have acquired coverage under their parents’ plans, and 9 million Americans have registered for private health insurance or Medicaid, he said.
The president urged listeners to persuade those without health insurance to sign up by March 31, the deadline for obtaining insurance under the new law. He also told House Republicans not to vote again to repeal the law.
The health care law and some of the Obama administration’s rules to implement it continue to meet strong resistance for coercive policies regarding abortion funding and religious freedom. In March, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments to determine the constitutionality of the administration’s abortion/contraception mandate.
Obama made only a brief reference to same-sex “marriage.”
In a blog post after the speech, Ryan Anderson, the Heritage Foundation’s expert on marriage and religious liberty, said the federal government “has no business redefining marriage. People (and their elected representatives), not the president or the courts, should make marriage policy in the states.”