Monday, March 7, 2011

US Catholic Bishops Comment on Federal Budget Discussions


WASHINGTON—Congress should place the needs of the poor, unemployed, hungry
and other vulnerable people first as it sets its budget priorities for
Fiscal Year 2011, said the bishop who oversees domestic policy on behalf of
the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
“The spending choices of Congress have clear moral and human
dimensions; they reflect our values as a people,” said Bishop Stephen
Blaire of Stockton, California, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic
Justice and Human Development, in a March 4 letter to the U.S. Senate.
“Some current proposals call for substantial reductions, particularly in
those programs that serve the poorest and most vulnerable people in our
nation. In a time of economic crisis, poor and vulnerable people are in
greater need of assistance, not less.”
Bishop Blaire cited over $5 billion in proposed cuts to
programs including community health centers, affordable housing, job
training programs, education programs for low-income people and refugee
funding as having a severe impact on the poor and vulnerable.
Bishop Blaire acknowledged the need to address the federal
deficit to ensure stability for future generations, as well as the need to
preserve national security, noting that the way to do this is not to create
greater insecurity for the poor but through shared sacrifice for all. He
also voiced support for provisions that continue to ban federal abortion
funding and restore the ban in the District of Columbia.
The full text of the letter can be found online: Bishop
Blaire’s letter echoes a February 22 letter from Bishop Howard J. Hubbard
of Albany, New York, chairman of the USCCB Committee on International
Justice and Peace, and Ken Hackett, president of Catholic Relief Services
(CRS), in which they argued that assistance to the world’s poor needed to
be a budget priority:

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