Bishop William Skylstad, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, urged Congress to make poor people in the U.S. and abroad a priority when adopting a new budget.
“Budget decisions reflect not only economic policies, but moral choices as well,” said the bishop of Spokane in his March 3 letter to U.S. House and Senate Budget Committee members. “When setting national priorities, Congress should seek genuine bipartisan commitment focusing on the common good of all, and especially the essential needs of the poor and vulnerable.
“Providing an adequate safety net for poor and vulnerable families at home and promoting human development in poor countries are both fundamental moral obligations of a responsible society,” he said.
“These must not be neglected as Congress addresses essential priorities like homeland security and the defense of our nation, which can only be enhanced by wise investments to protect human life and dignity at home and abroad. We ask that you support maximum budget authority in those accounts that fund programs to assist poor families and vulnerable children.”
The bishop also encouraged the government to generate sufficient revenues so that it can meet the needs of the most vulnerable in the country and abroad. He said government should evaluate any new tax proposals in light of their ability to generate sufficient revenues for this purpose.
Moreover, Congress should adopt a budget that will ensure adequate funding for families to “escape joblessness, move beyond welfare, choose education for their children, gain needed health care coverage, and overcome hunger and homelessness.” He said the U.S. has “inescapable international responsibilities” that include increased investments in promoting peace, security and sustainable development.