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Congress Passes Resolution on Turkey and Syria

On Monday, the House of Representatives passed H.Res.132, a resolution mourning the massive loss of life caused by the recent earthquakes in Turkey and Syria. In addition, the resolution: (1) applauds the work of humanitarian aid and rescue workers on the ground; and (2) condemns the efforts by the Assad regime of Syria to exploit the disaster to evade international pressure and accountability, including by preventing the United Nations from providing assistance through border crossings between Turkey and Syria.

NCC urges congregations in the United States to pray for those affected and to support the ongoing disaster and humanitarian relief efforts of our member communions and ecumenical partners.

End of SNAP Emergency Allotments

Emergency allotments to families under a temporary expansion of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) ended this week. These allotments helped SNAP beneficiaries supplement their food budgets during the COVID-19 pandemic, providing up to an additional $95 in benefits for most families. Last year, Congress voted to end the emergency allotments through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023.

High inflation and soaring grocery costs make this a particularly difficult time for families already struggling to make ends meet. NCC commends the long-term work of our member communions who provide food aid to their congregations and communities. We encourage member communions to help spread the word about the changes to SNAP and use the USDA Hunger Hotline as a resource.

U.S. Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments on Student Loan Debt Relief

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the legality of President Biden’s student loan debt forgiveness plan. Under the plan, millions of student loan borrowers could qualify for up to $20,000 in debt relief. Last November, the Department of Education ;extended the pause on student loan repayment interest, and collections, until the Supreme Court hands down its decision—which will likely occur in June—or 60 days after June 30, 2023.

According to a statement issued by Secretary Miguel Cardona, “targeted student debt relief addresses the financial harms of the pandemic, provides borrowers with a smooth transition to repayment, and helps borrowers at highest risk of delinquencies or default once payments resume.

NCC recognizes the heavy burden of student loan debt, especially for young Americans, and calls on the Supreme Court to act with conscience and compassion to provide relief to those most in need.