Press Release from Faith in Public Life
Valentine's Day message from prominent Christian, Jewish leaders to political leaders on proposed massive budget cuts
National Christian and Jewish leaders are sending a Valentine's Day message today to elected officials, responding to proposed budgets cuts that slash spending on critical, life-saving programs for women, children, and families. Their message: A budget that leaves out families is like a valentine that leaves out love.
Rabbi Steve Gutow, President and CEO of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs; Sr. Simone Campbell, Executive Director of NETWORK, a National Catholic Social Justice Lobby; and Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches, are rallying around three specific proposed cuts to programs that are critical to keeping families healthy.
These prominent national faith leaders are opposing cuts proposed by Congressional leaders to Community Health Centers, which provide primary health care to millions of low- and middle-income families in underserved communities; Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), which provides food assistance to low-income women and their children; and Maternal and Child Health Block Grants, which give low-income pregnant women, mothers and their children access to health care.
"As Americans celebrate Valentine's Day, vital programs that support families and the most vulnerable now face drastic budget cuts. Sound fiscal judgment makes perfect sense, but cutting the heart out of effective programs that help mothers, children and hard-working citizens is both cruel and misguided," said Sr. Simone Campbell, executive director of NETWORK. "House Republicans are attacking our nation's safety net at a time when millions are struggling to find work and put food on the table. This ideological assault undermines human dignity and the shared values that make our nation flourish. Both Congressional leaders and the Obama administration, which has proposed its own cuts to important programs, need to start showing real moral leadership to ensure that vulnerable families are protected during efforts to balance the budget."
Faith leaders, who have long advocated for health care and other vital assistance for poor and working-class families, expect moral leadership from our elected officials. As political leaders take on the challenge of tackling the deficit, the faith community is demanding solutions that don't unfairly target the most vulnerable members of our society.
On Valentine's Day, faith leaders hold their political leaders accountable for remembering families in need with the budget, just as love is a critical component of any valentine.
"As we observe a holiday that embodies love, millions of Americans struggle to find employment and afford health care for themselves and their loved ones. Particularly in rural and underserved communities, the hardships and unmet needs are immense," said Rabbi Steve Gutow, president and CEO of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and Michael Kinnamon, general secretary of the National Council of Churches. "Draconian budget cuts that take away sorely needed investment in these communities are morally inexcusable, and cutting off resources today in low-income and rural communities will weaken our nation in the long run. Such policies are at best a penny-wise and pound-foolish approach to the challenges our nation faces."