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US bishops: Ryan budget fails to meet ‘basic moral test’

May 09, 2012

A day after the House Budget Committee voted 21-9 to approve a budget plan proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) renewed its criticism of the plan and urged members of the House of Representatives to “put a circle of protection” around three “essential programs.”

The entire House is scheduled to vote on Ryan’s Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act on May 10.

“I reiterate our strong opposition to an unfair proposal that would alter the Child Tax Credit to exclude children of hard-working, immigrant families,” wrote Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development. “Denying the credit to children of working poor immigrant families--the large majority of whom are American citizens--would hurt vulnerable kids, increase poverty, and would not advance the common good.”

“The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps), provides vital food security to families during tough economic times,” Bishop Blaire added. “It is estimated that cuts proposed in this bill would deny assistance to two million families, and cut the benefit for everyone else. No poor family that receives food assistance would be unaffected, constituting a direct threat to their human dignity.”

“The Social Services Block Grant is an important source of funding for programs throughout the country that serve vulnerable members of our communities--the homeless, the elderly, people with disabilities, children living in poverty, and abuse victims,” he continued. “We should prioritize programs that serve “the least of these,” not eliminate them.”

“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,” Bishop Blaire added. “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.”


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  • Posted by: extremeCatholic - May. 10, 2012 9:45 PM ET USA

    In the Clinton administration, illegal immigrants were first permitted to file income tax returns with an IRS ITIN as opposed to an Social Security number which a citizen or legal resident would have. In addition to actual children at home claimed for the child tax credit, non-resident children and even fictitious children were claimed fraudulently and this is so common that the estimate is the $4 billion in phony claims have been paid out. This is what the bishops defend here.

  • Posted by: [email protected] - May. 10, 2012 7:57 PM ET USA

    The USCCB is at it again with misinformation and clear lack of clarity as the abyss the country is facing. At least Ryan put forth a budget. Let the Democrats do the same. Then work to an agreement. The USCCB is a left leaning group who help put Obama in the WH and now do not know what to make of the double cross. What is a "circle of protection" and what does it really mean? Provide some specifics and see what some of these bishops are really talking about. TAD

  • Posted by: Skip - May. 10, 2012 11:54 AM ET USA

    It is immoral to spend ourselves into financial ruin. Period. Who will suffer the most then? The poor, and franlky, all of us. What will the bishop say then? He is sadly clueless.

  • Posted by: jeremiahjj - May. 10, 2012 10:47 AM ET USA

    These bishops are either misguided or willing to let their offices be used to advance leftist/Democrat causes. Catholics who think for themselves know what's going on. The church has spoken on these and other matters and that should be the end of that.

  • Posted by: chasann113163 - May. 10, 2012 7:40 AM ET USA

    I support Congressman Ryan and I think our Bishops need to remember that we are going broke and if this happens, the poor will suffer the most. It's time for everyone to bite the bullet and the Bishops need to step up and start doing thier job by uniting Catholic.

  • Posted by: - May. 09, 2012 11:42 PM ET USA

    The USCCB and Bishop Blaire need to get out of politics and start realizing that their job is moral - to lead and protect the flock spiritually. Unfortunately they have not fully let go of their American brand of Catholicism, a morally warped school of thought that seeks to reshape the Church along political lines. Bishop Blaire and his fellow Bishops continue to endorse failed government spending programs as their solution. They have been intellectually compromised by their political power sharing ideology. It is time for the Bishops to wake up and realize that due to their failed leadership over the last 50 years the Church has piece by piece abrogated its charitable moral duties to the government - to the extent that now the Church is beholden to the government for funding (and also for tax forgiveness under the guise of non-profit classification). Maybe it is time for the Bishops to get back their Catholic religion! To reestablish the Church’s full independence from the government and for the Church to go back to running its own charities and religious institutions - free from government intrusion! Yes this will initially create a huge financial burden on the Church, but one that over time can be closed through the generosity of the faithful flock and the knowledge of divine protection. It is time for the Bishops to act like real Bishops - to place their trust in God, not in a godless government.

  • Posted by: Colonel Joe - May. 09, 2012 11:19 PM ET USA

    Perhaps the bishops could take some lessons from the many community Christian churches as they live the Christian commitment to help all without government aid. Those vibrant Christian communities seem to spend their contributions on the Mission to the community, not to constructing large edifices (which many are in debt). Last week's readings are extremely apropos. Bishops perhaps should look at the readings.

  • Posted by: benniep5 - May. 09, 2012 9:51 PM ET USA

    Have the Bishops noted a drop in donations to Catholic Charities? Why should the faithful give to the Church when we are letting the government do our work for us? I agree, "The USCCB should be focused on one objective: UNIFYING Catholics before the next election." Ryan is a faithful Catholic... it might be time for USCCB to take time to listen to what the man is saying, and quit giving aid and comfort to the party which is out to destroy the Church and her people...

  • Posted by: veniteadoremus1822 - May. 09, 2012 8:35 PM ET USA

    It becomes tiresome to hear social liberals drone on and on about the "needs" of the poor and the necessity of the entire gamut of government social welfare programs. Does anyone really think it UNIMPORTANT to assist those who are needy? And does Bishop Stephen Blaire not realize that orthodox Catholics who are familiar with scripture and ecclesial history find his statements vexing and tedious? The USCCB should be focused on one objective: UNIFYING Catholics before the next election.

  • Posted by: unum - May. 09, 2012 7:35 PM ET USA

    The bishops are telling the faithful that there is no waste in "the three essential programs" and there is no better way of delivering these services. Further, the bishops have determined that what works in Florida is effective in Idaho under the federal government's "one size fits all" approach. That's progressive politics, not moral guidance. The bishops are squandering their credibility with the laity by endorsing big government instead of sound solutions that protect the poor.

  • Posted by: dover beachcomber - May. 09, 2012 7:09 PM ET USA

    Brenda22890 is right on the mark. Bishops should be using this moment in history to teach Catholics that giving money to the poor by seizing it from the rich, using the coercive power of government, is spiritually sterile. "If I give all that I have to poor... and have not love... ." The sound of the "tinkling cymbal" is undoubtedly very loud at the USCCB just now.

  • Posted by: normnuke - May. 09, 2012 6:43 PM ET USA

    Is Bp. Blair not aware that Stockton Ca. (his see!) is on the verge of bankruptcy? Not to worry! the taxpayers of the future will gladly pay for his Stocton's profligacy and that of all the other Stocktons. That's because the taxpayers of the future will be on food stamps and able to afford it.

  • Posted by: shrink - May. 09, 2012 5:48 PM ET USA

    The bishop says that the Ryan budget "The proposed cuts to programs in the budget reconciliation fail this basic moral test." So is it immoral to vote for the budget? If it is, just say so. If it is not, then it seems that the bishop has nothing to say.

  • Posted by: williiam ronner - May. 09, 2012 4:06 PM ET USA

    Perhaps the USCCB would tell us how to balance the budget. Hopefully they have a better idea.

  • Posted by: Gil125 - May. 09, 2012 3:30 PM ET USA

    Don't cut you, don't cut me. Cut that fellow under the tree.

  • Posted by: Frodo1945 - May. 09, 2012 2:50 PM ET USA

    The bishops always try to have it both ways - they recognize the serious deficits BUT want us to keep borrowing and spending. Passing on huge debt to the next generation doesn't seem to phase them. Just like immigration - they are against law-breaking BUT want the US to give those illegal aliens more and more benefits. They are terrible at politics and are always eager to chime in with uninformed comments.

  • Posted by: brenda22890 - May. 09, 2012 11:46 AM ET USA

    Once the Church took care of the poor herself - - now we whine for government handouts. When we take from the government, they can dictate to us: what we teach, what is included in our health care, etc.

  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - May. 09, 2012 8:58 AM ET USA

    Has anyone ever met a non-Democrat bishop? Proper social catechesis in well-prepared sermons and homilies would emphasize how to apply the principle of subsidiarity to service to the temporarily poor and to those who suffer from permanent neglect by government. Teach to fish, not hand out a fish. Fund well-managed dioceses and parishes. Proper catechesis would encourage Catholics to give more to the Church and less to the State. Ryan is correct: stop government theft and promote charitable givin