Bishops Reiterate Budget Priorities, Cite Concern For International Disaster Relief In Letter To Congress

April 24, 2013 By Public Affairs Office

WASHINGTON—The heads of twocommittees of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) urged Congress inApril 22 letters to both chambers to weigh decisions surrounding the budget byhow they impact human life and dignity, serve "the least of these" and reflectgovernment's shared responsibility to protect the common good. The bishops'letters followed President Obama's 2014 budget proposal.

Theletter affirmed proposed funding for poverty-focused international assistance,but Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, California, and Bishop Richard E.Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, wrote, "The President's proposal moves Food forPeace funding allocated for food needs during emergencies to InternationalDisaster Assistance (IDA) while substantially cutting existing IDA programs.The proposed reductions are deeply troubling, especially as humanitarian needsgrow in places like Syria. Congress should reject these cuts in shelter andmedical assistance to very vulnerable populations." Bishop Blaire and BishopsPates chair the USCCB Committees on Domestic Justice and Human Development andInternational Justice and Peace respectively.

In response to the proposed budgetfrom President Obama, Bishop Blaire and Bishop Pates commended "concern forpeople living in or near poverty, especially children and families." Theysupported investment in early childhood education, as well as makingimprovements to the Earned Income and Child Tax Credits permanent. Theycautioned that reforms to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and otherprograms must not increase economic hardship for those in the programs.

The full text to the letters to theHouse and Senate are available online. House:


Keywords: U.S. bishops, USCCB, U.S. Conference of CatholicBishops, Catholic Church, Bishop Stephen E. Blaire, Bishop Richard E. Pates,Congress, House, Senate, budget, poor, vulnerable, federal budget, Earned IncomeTax Credit, Child Tax Credit, early childhood education, President BarackObama, Circle of Protection, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid

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