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Bishops urge Senate: Remember the poor in budget legislation

Catholic World News - May 09, 2011

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is urging senators not to make “disproportionate cuts in essential services to poor persons.”

“Access to affordable, life-affirming health care remains an urgent national priority,” said Bishops Howard Hubbard and Stephen Blaire, who chair the USCCB committees on International Justice and Peace and Domestic Justice and Human Development, adding:

We recognize that the rising costs of Medicare, Medicaid and other entitlement programs need to be addressed, but we urge that the needs of the poor, working families and vulnerable people be protected. Cost cutting proposals should not simply shift health care costs from the federal government to the states or directly to beneficiaries. Such measures could leave more elderly, working families and poor people without the assurance of adequate and affordable health care. We also are deeply concerned about 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 programs.

The bishops also urged senators not to cut international programs that target poverty.

“The House Budget Resolution appears to cut the foreign operations budget by more than a third,“ the bishops stated. “We do not support the entire foreign operations budget, but we strongly support poverty-focused international assistance. A cut of this magnitude is likely to devastate poverty-focused efforts and the people who depend on it. We ask the Senate to support poverty-focused assistance and to continue reform of foreign assistance so it is even more effective for the poorest people in the poorest places on earth.”

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