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Bishops Reiterate Budget Priorities, Cite Concern For International Disaster Relief In Letter To Congress

April 24, 2013

WASHINGTON—The heads of two committees of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) urged Congress in April 22 letters to both chambers to weigh decisions surrounding the budget by how they impact human life and dignity, serve "the least of these" and reflect government's shared responsibility to protect the common good. The bishops' letters followed President Obama's 2014 budget proposal.

The letter affirmed proposed funding for poverty-focused international assistance, but Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, California, and Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, wrote, "The President's proposal moves Food for Peace funding allocated for food needs during emergencies to International Disaster Assistance (IDA) while substantially cutting existing IDA programs. The proposed reductions are deeply troubling, especially as humanitarian needs grow in places like Syria. Congress should reject these cuts in shelter and medical assistance to very vulnerable populations." Bishop Blaire and Bishops Pates chair the USCCB Committees on Domestic Justice and Human Development and International Justice and Peace respectively.

In response to the proposed budget from President Obama, Bishop Blaire and Bishop Pates commended "concern for people living in or near poverty, especially children and families." They supported investment in early childhood education, as well as making improvements to the Earned Income and Child Tax Credits permanent. They cautioned that reforms to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and other programs must not increase economic hardship for those in the programs.

The full text to the letters to the House and Senate are available online. House: Senate:


Keywords: U.S. bishops, USCCB, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Catholic Church, Bishop Stephen E. Blaire, Bishop Richard E. Pates, Congress, House, Senate, budget, poor, vulnerable, federal budget, Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, early childhood education, President Barack Obama, Circle of Protection, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid

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Don Clemmer
O: 202-541-3206

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