Catholic Charities USA, one of the nation’s largest social service networks, is making a last-minute plea to the U.S. House of Representatives to protect government programs for the poor from the budget axe.
With Congress returning this week from recess, one of the first issues to be taken up by the House is a budget reconciliation bill that, according to Catholic Charities USA, includes unprecedented reductions in funding for vital social services and health care programs.
The bill, which has already been approved by the Senate, makes detrimental cuts and program changes that will affect poor Medicaid recipients, child care funding, child support enforcement, kinship foster care funding, and welfare beneficiaries.
“This legislation compromises the health and well-being of some the poorest and most vulnerable in your community and across the nation,” said Fr. Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA. “Our faith teaches us that government has a special obligation to first consider the needs of the poor, yet the proposed budget changes put a disproportionate burden on the poor – those who can least afford it.”
These budget changes come at a time when increasing numbers of working families, seniors, and disabled adults are seeking assistance from local Catholic Charities, said Fr. Snyder. “The funding and program changes proposed in this budget conference agreement will only serve to push low-income families and individuals further behind.”
“This spending plan is a moral document; it is a public manifestation of how our government reaches out to those who most need its assistance,” he said. “On behalf of the poor and vulnerable, I urge members of Congress to examine their conscience, act with compassion, and to vote to defeat this legislation.”