Predicting “more poverty and more desperation,” the nation’s Roman Catholic bishops on Tuesday urged Congress to reject proposals that would dramatically cut welfare assistance and tax credits for needy families.
“If Congress does not reject this fatally flawed legislation, we urge the president to veto it,” the letter stated. “We are not supporters of the status quo, which too often undermines families and hurts children, but this legislation in many respects represents a huge step backwards.”
Carefully avoiding a partisan slant, the bishops’ letter reflected their discontent with what Auxiliary Bishop John Ricard of Baltimore called “the partisan and ideological posturing” of government officials.
In their letter to Congress, the bishops termed as “devastating” Republican budget proposals that would shift the responsibility of welfare and Medicaid to the states through block grants, make “huge cuts” in the food stamp program and reduce the earned income tax credit for low-income families by $32 billion.
Bishop Anthony Pilla of Cleveland was elected president of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and United States Catholic Conference.