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WASHINGTON (RNS) Top Senate Democrats said Wednesday (July 28) that Democrats need the help of religious groups in overcoming Republican opposition to key pieces of legislation.
In a media roundtable hosted by Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., chairwoman of the Democrats’ Steering and Outreach Committee, senators said the majority of “the faith community” is fully on board with Democratic policies on immigration, health care and clean energy.
Senate Democrats said the progress they’ve made on economic recovery and job growth is due to the continued support of faith communities.
Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, cited a common thread of “economic and social justice” between Democratic lawmakers and religious groups.
“We would not have passed (any of the bills) … without the strong voice and commitment from the faith community to keep us on track,”
Stabenow said.
But as the Democratic majority faces stiff resistance from the GOP on other legislation — “a battle on every bill we have put forward,”
Stabenow said — religious groups need to play a larger role in supporting those bills.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., highlighted the “strength in numbers”
that faith communities have, and urged them to continue “pushing back”
against Republican opposition.
“When we were saying we don’t have any Republican support, did they (faith groups) go to rally?” Klobuchar asked. “That’s what I think that the religious groups have to (do).”
Senators conceded, however, that there is a limit in how far faith leaders can go in their advocacy without alienating some of their own flocks.
“I think this is a question of comfort level,” Stabenow said. “Some in the faith community … will feel comfortable in a bipartisan arena and others won’t.”
Many religious groups do not feel that they have to “deal with that stuff,” because they are not political organizations, Klobuchar added.
“I’m not being critical, I’m just being honest,” she said.
— Alfredo Garcia
Copyright 2010 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

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