Washington D.C., Feb 13, 2018 / 12:08 pm
The federal budget proposal released by the Trump administration on Monday has been met with worry from U.S. bishops who stressed the need to protect the poor.
“Budget decisions ought to be guided by moral criteria that safeguard human life and dignity, give central importance to ‘the least of these,’ and promote the well-being of workers and families who struggle to live in dignity,” read a statement released by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on Feb. 13.
“Yesterday, President Trump unveiled a budget plan, ‘Efficient, Effective, Accountable: An American Budget,’ that again calls for deep cuts to vital parts of government, including underfunding programs that serve the poor, diplomacy, and environment stewardship,” the statement continued.
The bishops commended certain aspects of the budget request, which would prohibit organizations that perform abortions from receiving federal funding, and would pump $13 billion into fighting the opioid crisis. However, they also expressed concern on other aspects, including immigration enforcement and the boost in military spending.
The statement was signed by Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the USA Military Services, who chairs the bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace, and Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, who heads the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development.
The proposal, which was sent to Congress Feb. 12, outlines a $4.4 trillion budget. It would boost military spending by $195 billion over the next two years, and cut federal entitlement programs, such as Medicaid, Medicare and food stamps, by $1.8 trillion. Some parts of the food stamp program would be replaced for eligible participants with a premade box of American-produced food items.
The new budget would also boost spending for infrastructure improvements and cut funding to the State Department and foreign aid. It would set aside $18 billion for border security, including build a wall on the southern border of Mexico and hiring additional border security personnel.
Through the budget, the administration projected an economic growth of 3.1 percent over the next three years. The New York Times reported that it would also add $984 billion to the federal deficit next year.