While we were meeting, the House of Representatives took a step away from our proposal. On Wednesday night, they passed the "Limit, Save, Grow Act," a bill that holds hostage the routine increase of the debt ceiling in exchange for trillions in cuts to federal spending. If signed into law, the bill would exacerbate poverty for millions by reducing benefits of vital safety net programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), housing assistance, and Medicaid. Alongside these cuts the bill will limit access for millions of Americans through onerous work requirements and eligibility restrictions. These reductions will disproportionately harm people of color, children, the disabled, veterans, and the elderly.
While Congress moves to slash these critically needed human needs programs, it is also likely to support the president’s FY2024 budget request of $886 billion for the Pentagon and nuclear weapons programs in the Department of Energy, if not seek even higher funding levels. The result will be the highest military spending levels since World War II. To deny the poor and vulnerable the means to meet their basic needs for food, healthcare and shelter in the name of “fiscal responsibility,” yet place no limits to what we as a nation can spend on systems of violence and war that create such insecurity across the world is a gross injustice. This type of slash-and-burn governing that balances the federal budget on the backs of the poor is immoral and unsustainable.
Congress should embrace a better way. Tell your representatives to support the following policies and move the funds that go to buy weapons of destruction to programs that help people feed themselves and their families:
- Support the $100 billion of cuts to the Pentagon budget outlined in the People Over Pentagon Act (H.R. 1134) and;
- Protect social safety-net programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and Medicaid from proposed cuts, limits to eligibility, and work requirements,
- Strengthen and expand SNAP and other nutritional assistance programs in the next Farm Bill by increasing funding and eligibility, removing barriers to access like the drug felony ban on receiving benefits, and addressing food security of vulnerable populations like veterans and LGBTQ adults.
As people of faith, we are called to turn Swords into Plowshares and build a world where there are no weapons, all creatures can live together without fear, and all may live free from want. Let us join together with others of good conscience to make such a world possible.