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Presbyterian Mission Agency’s Associate Director of Advocacy joins thousands at the White House to celebrate the Inflation Reduction Act

Tuesday’s gathering on the South Lawn featured a speech by President Joe Biden and songs by James Taylor

by Mike Ferguson | Presbyterian News Service

The Rev. Jimmie Hawkins, Associate Director of Advocacy for the Presbyterian Mission Agency’s Compassion, Peace & Justice ministries, is pictured on the South Lawn of the White House Tuesday. (Photo courtesy of the Rev. Jimmie Hawkins)

LOUISVILLE — President Joe Biden, singer/songwriter James Taylor, the Rev. Jimmie Hawkins and a few thousand others were on the White House lawn Tuesday celebrating Biden’s signing last month of the Inflation Reduction Act.

The legislation seeks to curb inflation by reducing the deficit, lowering prescription drug prices and investing in domestic energy production while promoting clean energy. Biden signed the bill into law last month. Watch a recording of Tuesday’s event here.

The South Lawn “was filled with celebrants who applauded the passage of the bill,” said Hawkins, Associate Director of Advocacy for the Presbyterian Mission Agency’s Compassion, Peace & Justice ministries. Among them were Taylor and his wife, Kim, who led the crowd in singing “America the Beautiful.”

Biden spoke, as did Vice President Kamala Harris, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. So did Lovette Jacobs, a Boston-based member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, who introduced Biden.

Hawkins said he was among the leaders in the Washington faith community invited to the celebration. “We meet weekly with the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships,” which is led by executive director Melissa Rogers and Josh Dickson, the White House’s senior advisor for public engagement and the office’s deputy director.

The Rev. Jimmie Hawkins, at right, is shown with Mark Harrison, at left, the former Economic Justice Program Coordinator with the United Methodist Church, and presidential advisor Josh Dickson. (Photo courtesy of the Rev. Jimmie Hawkins)

In addition to Hawkins, faith leaders in the crowd included the Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe, general secretary at the General Board of Church and Society in the United Methodist Church; John B. Johnson, director of domestic policy for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; and the Rev. Jim Wallis, who founded Sojourners magazine and is now the inaugural chair and founding director of the Center on Faith and Justice at Georgetown University.

As one of three chairs of the Washington Interfaith Staff Community, Hawkins has been regularly consulted by the president’s advisors for help with, for example, identifying issues of importance to the faith community.

As Hawkins noted, everyone in attendance Tuesday went home with a little something: an envelope from the White House commemorating the event.

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