US bishops urge congress to decide budget based on dignity of the person

The U.S. bishops have urged Congress to think of the needs of the poor here and abroad when they consider the national budget. They made their call in a Feb. 11 letter, signed by USCCB president Bishop William Skylstad, to U.S. senators and representatives.

"As pastors, we believe that a fundamental moral measure of our nation's budget policy is whether it enhances or undermines the lives and dignity of those most in need," Bishop Sklystad wrote.

"Sadly, political pressure has left poor families missing in the national debate and without a place at the table,” the letter stated. “Our nation needs a genuinely bipartisan commitment to focus on the common good of all and on the special needs of the poor and vulnerable in particular.”

The bishops told Congress that preserving an adequate safety net for the poor, assisting people to move from joblessness to employment, increasing access to education and health care, protecting refugees and promoting human development in poor countries “are fundamental moral obligations of a responsible society that must be met alongside other priorities like homeland security and military expenditures.”

The bishops said Americans must work for the common good and “insist that adequate federal revenues be available to help meet these basic needs.”

The bishops also warned of a rising national deficit, saying it would “seriously limit” the nation’s ability to meet its “moral obligations to respond to basic human needs” here and abroad.

“Our nation also has international responsibilities that require increased investments in promoting peace and security as well as international development,” they said.

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