Food stamps feed one in five children in the United States, and the Republicans, led by Catholic Republican Congressman and former vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, his former presidential running mate, Mitt Romney, and Catholic Republican House Speaker John Boehner want to decimate the food stamps program with immoral and inhumane budget cuts. Time will tell if Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Rick Santorum and Marco Rubio support such hard-hearted class warfare policies.
What does Republican control of the country's purse strings mean for the game plan of those seeking social justice?
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.
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.
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.
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.
NCR Today: Why are women and children being detained in New Mexico? Also: the expulsion of an Australian priest after allegations of abuse; retired priest rescued from harbor.
In July, Paul Ryan unveiled a new anti-poverty plan that is an about-face for Ryan, who's known for proposing budget cuts that hurt the poor.
Arkansas Bishop Anthony Taylor's July 25 statement is worth the read, as he has firsthand experience of what's happening in Central America.
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.