WASHINGTON—Congress should assess every budget decision by how it reflects the shared responsibility of the government and other institutions to protect human life and dignity, especially of the poor and vulnerable, said the bishop who chairs the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in a May 8 letter to the House of Representatives.
“The Catholic bishops of the United States recognize the serious deficits our country faces, and we acknowledge that Congress must make difficult decisions about how to allocate burdens and sacrifices and balance resources and needs,” wrote Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, California, as the House prepared to vote on a reconciliation package for the 2013 budget. “However, deficit reduction and fiscal responsibility efforts must protect and not undermine the needs of poor and vulnerable people. The proposed cuts to programs in the budget reconciliation fail this basic moral test.”
Bishop Blaire singled out an “unfair” proposal to change the Child Tax Credit to exclude children of immigrant families, “the large majority of whom are American citizens,” proposed cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) that would affect all poor families and be “a direct threat to their human dignity,” and the cutting of the Social Services Block Grant, “an important source of funding for programs throughout the country” that serve “the homeless, the elderly, people with disabilities, children living in poverty, and abuse victims.”
The full text of Bishop Blaire’s letter is available online: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/federal-budget/upload/reconciliation-letter-to-house-2012-05-08.pdf