U.S. bishops: federal budget should not be balanced 'on backs of the poor'

U.S. bishops: federal budget should not be balanced ‘on backs of the poor’

U.S. bishops: federal budget should not be balanced ‘on backs of the poor’

U.S. President Donald Trump gestures as he delivers his first State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress Jan. 30 on Capitol Hill in Washington. Applauding behind Trump is Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., a Catholic. (Credit: CNS photo/Win McNamee pool via Reuters.)

In response to the Trump administration's 2019 federal budget proposal, the U.S. bishops warned that the U.S. "must never seek to balance the budget on the backs of the poor at home and abroad."

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In response to the Trump administration’s 2019 federal budget proposal on Monday, the U.S. Catholic bishops are urging for a budget that shows greater concern for “‘the least of these” and warning that the U.S. “must never seek to balance the budget on the backs of the poor at home and abroad.”

In a joint statement released on Tuesday, Bishop Frank Dewane, who is head of the U.S. bishops’ committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and Archbishop Timothy Brogoglio, head of the Committee on International Justice and Peace, reminded the administration that “the federal budget is a moral document, and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has consistently urged our national leaders to consider important principles when deciding how to steward the finite resources entrusted to it by the American people.”

Their language echoed similar statements from fall of last year when the U.S. bishops sent letters to congressional leaders in both the House and the Senate.

President Trump sent his 2019 budget, “‘Efficient, Effective, Accountable: An American Budget,” to congress on Monday. The $4.4 trillion budget contains significant cuts to Medicare and food stamp programs, increased funding for the U.S. military and the Department of Homeland Security, and includes $1.6 billion to build a border wall along the south Texas-Mexico border.

The bishops’ statement criticized the budget’s underfunding of programs “that serve the poor, diplomacy, and environmental stewardship,” and they noted the bill would include more funding for immigration enforcement and military spending, including on nuclear weapons.

As for its positive assessments, the bishops commended the budget’s prohibition on allowing federal dollars to be spent on abortion and also praised increased spending on the opioid crisis.

“We urge Congress — and every American — to evaluate the Administration’s budget blueprint in light of its impacts on those most in need, and work to ensure a budget for our country that honors our obligations to build toward the common good,” they wrote.

 

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