Leadership, Debt Ceiling, Oh My!

My Congregation leadership just forwarded this public statement on the whole debt ceiling thing from the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.  It so perfectly captures my thoughts and feelings on the matter, so I thought I'd share!

STATEMENTAugust 3, 2011

Leadership Conference of Women Religious Responds to Compromise Legislation

[Silver Spring, MD]  The Leadership Conference of Women Religious acknowledges the need for the compromise legislation to raise the debt ceiling, but urges the President and Congress to “first do no harm.”   We are concerned that critical human needs programs will be the ones to suffer most from spending cuts that will be enacted. We urge the new bipartisan commission and all members of Congress to protect programs like Medicaid, SNAP, LIHEAP and other programs that not only provide a safety net but help people in their struggle out of poverty. We view budgets as moral documents that must provide for those who are poor, sick, and vulnerable. Our faith and our country’s professed values demand this.

Any reform of Medicare and Medicaid should manage rising healthcare costs by building on the cost-saving included in the Affordable Care law, not by placing the burden of costs on people who are poor, or on the edge of poverty or elderly. Social Security should be considered apart from debt-reduction plans. Programs like unemployment insurance, job training, and student loans will help people not to sink into poverty and will prepare them for employment opportunities. We urge that policies are created to stimulate job creation, the surest way to economic recovery.

Many members of our religious communities work with people who are struggling with unemployment, loss of their homes, lack of adequate health care, or who need assistance to put food on their tables and to heat their homes. Many seniors live in fear of losing what health care they have, of inability to pay for medicines, even of losing their homes.

The United States of America must not be a country where the most vulnerable people have to live in fear of being without a home, food, or health care. This country needs to invest in its people, to call for true shared sacrifice, requiring wealthy individuals and corporations to do their fair share. We urge government leaders at every level to put country before politics and to “first do no harm,” and then take significant steps to create jobs and increase revenue.

LCWR has approximately 1500 members who are elected leaders of their religious orders, representing approximately 90% of the 59,000 Catholic sisters in the United States. The conference develops leadership, promotes collaboration within church and society, and serves as a voice for systemic change. Created in 1956, LCWR has a history of being at the forefront of change and renewal in the US Catholic church as well as acting as a strong advocate for social justice in society.

No comments: