The Inter-Religious Working Group on Domestic Human Needs feels compelled to respond to the budget released by the House Budget Committee – headed by Rep. Paul Ryan. Again, we are horrified by the damage it would do to individuals and families struggling to survive economically. These same households have borne the brunt of budget cuts, and sequestration cuts over the last several years. Most safety net programs have seen a 20% reduction in funding, while prices and need continue to escalate.
Over the next couple of weeks, pieces will be done on seven areas of discretionary funding. These are being placed on the group’s website  and on the websites of several of the member organizations (see below), and they are being sent to members of Congress. It is critical that those who vote for appropriations, as well as on the overall budget, understand the impact of their decisions on the lives of real families and individuals.
We are confident that this budget will not be accepted and signed into law. However, the proposals will have influence on members of Congress as they appropriate funding, and as they propose and mark up authorizing legislation. We need to be sure that as they continue their work, they are keenly aware of decisions that inflict harm.
First Guest Blog:
By Ryan Murphy, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas
Last week, the House Budget Committee officially released its 2015 budget resolution, entitled: The Path to Prosperity. Although the document is merely symbolic due to the bipartisan budget agreement reached last month between House and Senate, it is an important indication of what could emerge from Congress in the near future. According to Congressman Paul Ryan, the Chairman of the House Budget Committee and key author of the document, “this budget is our vision for how we should fix this country’s fiscal problem.”
Tragically, from the perspective of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, this vision doesn’t address the best interests of the American people.
The proposed “path to prosperity” “seeks to equip Americans with the skills they need in a 21st century economy;” yet it subsequently suggests slashing education programs for millions of children in low-income families. Since the impact of the Great Recession will likely continue over the next decade, it’s not logical to dismantle the ladder of opportunity for our less fortunate children.
For over 150 years, the Sisters of Mercy have provided a quality education throughout the country at our primary schools, high schools, colleges and universities. As educators, we know our country’s prosperous future demands meeting the educational needs of our next generation. The House Budget Committee’s vision would diminish funding for educational programs to an unprecedented level. The next 10 years would see a cut of $791 billion in non-defense discretionary spending, jeopardizing the limited resources for a variety of government programs, including Head Start, Early Head Start and Child Care and Development Block Grant. By 2024, non-defense discretion