National Catholic Reporter

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Paul Ryan

Despite year-end budget deal, future spending trends less certain

The $1.1 trillion federal spending bill approved by Congress avoided a repeat of last year's government shutdown and largely kept in place social services spending, especially programs benefiting low-income families.

Beyond the current fiscal year that ends Sept. 30, the future is less certain, however, as Republican victories in the November elections gave the party control of both chambers on Capitol Hill. With the new leaders come new plans on limiting federal spending and reducing the country's $17.6-trillion debt.

Why private donations can't completely finance America's poor

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Charles Kenny at Businessweek has written an important essay that debunks Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan's and his fellow Republicans' notion that private charity, especially churches, need to bear the brunt of financing the care of the poor. Like Ryan's budget, the math doesn't add up. Private charity cannot supplant federal and state programs that create the safety net for the poor. It's that simple.

Paul Ryan's recent discovery of poverty has eyes rolling

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House Republican Congressman Paul Ryan, a Catholic, has recently discovered poverty and has vowed to do something about it. He reintroduced a couple of modest ideas that might help the poor. Some progressive Catholics did their best to applaud Ryan's nascent initiatives. Others just rolled our eyes at the hollowness and political expediency of Ryan's actions.

Is an Obama legacy possible?

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The final two-plus years of the Obama presidency look to be a torturous obstacle course with little or nothing to be accomplished and repeated attempts to roll back those legislative pieces that are already in place. The 2014 election appears bleak for Democrats, who may even lose control of the Senate. The resulting Congress is almost certain to be even more recalcitrant in working with President Barack Obama than the current one.

Arkansas bishop on border crisis: Migrants are entitled to protection

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Arkansas Bishop Anthony Taylor's July 25 statement is worth the read, as he has firsthand experience of what's happening in Central America.

He writes:

For the last four years I have served as a member of the Committee on Migration of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. In that capacity I visited El Salvador two months ago as part of a Regional Consultation on Migration looking into the plight of refugees fleeing violence and extreme poverty in Central America. 

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