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29680: Nlbo (news) Congress passed HOPE Act (fwd)

From: Nlbo@aol.com

Episcopal News Service
December 13, 2006

Ecumenical leaders welcome passage of trade bill for Haiti

[ENS] Leaders of several U.S. Christian denominations have commended
members of Congress for passing landmark legislation to bring economic
opportunity to Haiti, one of the world's poorest countries.

Congress passed the Haiti Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership
Encouragement (HOPE) Act on December 9 in the final hours of the 109th
Congress. The HOPE Act grants preferential access to Haitian exports for entry into
the U.S. market. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Episcopal
Church, the United Church of Christ, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and
the United Methodist Church joined together to support the legislation.

"Congress has brought a light of hope to the long-suffering people of
Haiti with bipartisan legislation," said Bishop Thomas G. Wenski of Orlando,
Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) International
Policy Committee. "This action reflects the desire of the American people to be
good neighbors to a deeply impoverished country so close to our own
border. We continue to urge our political leaders to recognize that as
the richest nation in the world we have a moral responsibility to help our
most vulnerable brothers and sisters around the globe."

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop and Primate of
The Episcopal Church, pointed to the grassroots advocacy that helped
galvanize support for the legislation.

"Thousands of Christians contacted their lawmakers in support of the
HOPE Act over the past week because they knew that this legislation is good
not only for the people of Haiti, but also for Americans," she said.

Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in
America said, "As religious leaders, we will continue to stand in solidarity
with Haitians as they work to increase the stability of their nation and lift
their people out of poverty."