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Press Release: NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby, Rejects Rep. Paul Ryan’s New Budget Proposal

FOR RELEASE: April 2, 2014

CONTACT: Stephanie Niedringhaus, 202-347-9797 x224, sniedringhaus@networklobby.org

Washington DC: NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby, today issued the following statement in response to Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget proposal:

Almost two years ago, NETWORK’s Nuns on the Bus journeyed thousands of miles to protest Rep. Paul Ryan’s inhumane budget proposal. At every stop we met people working to support their families but relying on various programs that utilize federal funding to help make up the difference between wages and their costs of survival. We find it shocking that Rep. Ryan’s new proposal is even worse than the one we first protested. In fact, it is so extreme it has no real chance of becoming law, thus showing that it is little more than political gamesmanship. The American people deserve better.

There is so much fundamentally wrong with this latest proposal, which calls for deep, debilitating cuts for vital safety-net programs while supporting tax breaks for the wealthiest in our nation. Simply put, that is immoral.

Responding to news of the proposal, Sister Simone Campbell, NETWORK’s Executive Director, said, “This budget proposal doubles down on policies that hurt our nation and is even worse than Ryan’s earlier ones. Forcing the working poor to pay the price of addressing federal deficits while expecting nothing from those with the most wealth is wrong. Wrong according to our faith values, and wrong for 100% of our nation. Wrong for the common good, wrong for the general welfare. Just plain wrong. This document is nothing more than politics at its worst.”

Representative Ryan acknowledges the need to address poverty. And yet, his proposal to cut Pell Grant funding by more than $125 billion over 10 years would mean that far fewer low-income students could afford the education they need to lift themselves out of poverty. Huge Medicaid and SNAP cuts would mean that millions are unable to get the nutrition and medical care they need to lead healthy, productive lives. His proposal to cut funding for the Affordable Care Act would ensure that millions of people now insured would lose their coverage. This is the opposite of what our nation needs to ensure a healthy workforce.

And for the wealthy, Ryan would cut individual and corporate tax rates. Overall, his proposed tax cuts would cost our nation $5 trillion over 10 years, and the primary beneficiaries of this largesse would be those with the most wealth. Meanwhile, Pentagon funding would rise while our nation’s most vulnerable populations, including those with disabilities, the elderly and struggling families at the economic margins, would be grievously hurt.

A budget proposal so extreme is little more than a political ploy to position Republicans for the coming elections. In doing so, it reflects budget priorities that are deeply skewed. Our nation needs a plan that creates jobs and puts money in the hands of those who have too little. A Faithful Budget is the way forward for our nation. NETWORK will oppose this proposal as we did the 2012 version. As people of faith, we can do no less.

NETWORK—a Catholic leader in the global movement for justice and peace—educates, organizes and lobbies for economic and social transformation. Founded in 1971 by 47 Catholic sisters, NETWORK is supported by thousands of groups and individuals committed to working for social and economic justice.

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