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Bishops to Super Committee: Treatment of Jobless, Hungry and Homeless Is Moral Measure of Deficit Reduction

 
September 1, 2011

WASHINGTON—As the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction meets to address the issue of longterm budget deficit reduction, the bishops who lead the international and domestic policy committees of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) urged them to remember the poor and vulnerable in their deliberations.

“The moral measure of this historic process is not which party wins or which powerful interests prevail, but rather how the jobless, hungry, homeless and poor are treated,” said Bishop Howard J. Hubbard of Albany, New York, and Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, California, in an August 31 letter to members of the super committee.

“We understand that the fiscal status quo is unsustainable, with mounting deficits and growing debt for our children,” the bishops wrote. “We also recognize the economic and moral importance of creating jobs with decent wages and spurring economic growth as essential strategies to improve our economy, decrease poverty and reduce future deficits and debts. The question is how to fulfill the demands of justice and moral obligations to future generations and protect the lives and dignity of those who are poor and vulnerable.”

“We fear the human and social costs of substantial cuts to programs that serve families working to make ends meet and escape poverty,” the bishops wrote. “At a time of record foreclosures, increasing poverty and high unemployment it is not justifiable to weaken the national safety net or to make disproportionate cuts to programs that can help low and moderate income families avert crisis and live in dignity.

“We especially fear the costs of undermining poverty-focused international assistance, which is an essential tool to promote human life and dignity, advance solidarity with poorer nations, and enhance global security,” the bishops wrote. “Substantial cuts to these programs would be devastating to many who struggle daily to survive and to find shelter, food and medicine. These cuts could result in the loss of innocent lives...”

“Cuts to funding for refugee admissions and overseas refugee assistance programs would have devastating effects on Afghan and Iraqi Special Immigrant Visa recipients, victims of torture and trafficking, unaccompanied alien children, and other vulnerable populations,” the bishops wrote. Bishop Hubbard and Bishop Blaire chair the USCCB Committees on International Justice and Peace and Domestic Justice and Human Development, respectively.

The full text of the letter can be found online: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/economic-justice-economy/upload/letter-to-supercommittee-budget-deficit-2011-08-31.pdf

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Keywords: super committee, budget, deficit, Bishop Howard J. Hubbard, Bishop Stephen E. Blaire, homeless, poor, International Justice and Peace, Domestic Justice and Human Development

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