Catholic Bishops Blast Boehner’s Debt Plan
As the House prepares to vote on a debt-ceiling package that, in the words of Robert Greenstein, “could well produce the greatest increase in poverty and hardship produced by any law in modern U.S. history,” the US Conference of Catholic Bishops has weighed in with a highly critical statement about the House GOP plan’s moral priorities, saying in part:
A just framework for future budgets cannot rely on disproportionate cuts in essential services to poor persons. It requires shared sacrifice by all, including raising adequate revenues, eliminating unnecessary military and other spending, and addressing the long-term costs of health insurance and retirement programs fairly. [emphasis in original]
In this letter we do not offer a detailed critique of the entire measure before the House, but we ask you to consider the human and moral dimensions of several key choices facing the Congress. We fear the human and social costs of substantial cuts to programs that serve families working to escape poverty, especially food and nutrition, child development and education, and affordable housing.
We also fear the costs of undermining international assistance which is an essential tool to promote human life and dignity, advance solidarity with poorer nations, and enhance global security. Such assistance supports a wide range of life-saving programs, including: drugs to combat diseases; assistance to poor farmers and orphans; food aid for starving people; aid to victims of natural disasters; and help to refugees fleeing for their lives. The House proposal will require massive cuts in all these areas. We support continuing reform of programs that serve poor people to make them even more effective.
Keeping in mind that House Speaker John Boehner is Catholic, and is under enormous pressure from the Tea Party to move in the opposite direction, the bishops’ position complicates his position even more. Hopefully Boehner listens to his faith leaders rather than his extreme colleagues who seem bent on forcing a solution that exacerbates rather than alleviates human suffering.
Hat tip, David Gibson.