.- Catholic Charities USA welcomes some senators’ efforts to put poverty issues on the Congressional agenda, calling their proposals “a good first step in addressing the needs of the nation's low-income families.” Sens. Rick Santorum (R—PA), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R—TX), Sam Brownback (R—KS), and Jim Talent (R—MO) outlined their antipoverty agenda at a press conference yesterday.
The senators' proposed plans would reintroduce the CARE Act, create individual development accounts and work opportunity tax credits, and provide more support for former prisoners reentering society.
The CARE bill would provide crucial assistance to social service agencies that provide care to children, senior citizens, and people with disabilities, said Catholic Charities’ vice-president for social policy Sharon M. Daly.
"But to truly be effective, Congress must also protect key programs from budget cuts and adopt other needed antipoverty measures," said Daly.
Catholic Charities urges senators to ensure that any welfare reform would include a significant increase in childcare subsidies and allow parents to invest more time in job training and treatment for mental health and/or substance abuse.
Catholic Charities says Congress must also work to increase the minimum wage and affordable housing, especially for senior citizens and families with children.
It voiced its strong opposition to proposed budget cuts to vital affordable housing programs, Medicaid, Food Stamps, and other safety net programs.