Saturday, November 19, 2005

A Moral Diaster of Monumental Proportions, by Bryan Lentz, Nov 19.

The holiday spirit is clearly not alive and well in Washington, DC.

Early this morning, so-called Republican moderates showed their true colors by falling in line with Tom Delay and approving $7.8 billion in loan cuts to college students, $4.9 billion in cuts to child support enforcement, $11.4 billion in Medicaid cuts, and a $796 million reduction in food stamp funding.
Later today we can expect them to add insult to injury by approving $57 billion in new tax cuts, most of which benefit households with annual incomes of over $1 million.

The voters of my congressional district in southeast Pennsylvania should be particularly outraged because our congressman -- and my Republican opponent -- Rep. Curt Weldon, cast the deciding vote for this heartless and irresponsible measure.

Make no mistake about it. This plan isn't moderate. It isn't mainstream. It isn't even conservative. It's radical, it's selfish, and it's cruel.

Because of the Republican budget plan, 295,000 people, many of them working poor, will lose their access to food stamps, millionaires will get yet another tax break from the Republican Congress, and the federal budget deficit will increase by anywhere between $7 billion and $35 billion, depending on the final outcome of the budget reconciliation process.

Perversely, one of the prime targets of this so-called austerity package is children. Remember that in families living below the poverty line, child support accounts for 25 percent of total household income. The Republican budget plan will enable deadbeat parents to avoid child care payments estimated at $21 billion and will literally prevent thousands of kids from getting the minimum food, shelter and clothing they need to survive.

The Republican budget reconciliation plan also allows states to cut diagnostic and preventative care for upwards of 6 million kids nationwide; it cuts $577 million in foster care assistance; and it slashes $732 million in supplementary assistance to the elderly and disabled.

The National Council of Churches has blasted the Republican budget cuts as "a moral disaster of monumental proportions." The National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd has warned Congress that private charity cannot "substitute for the critical role of the government in providing for the general welfare."

Religious leaders and community activists understand that our child poverty rate -- one of every six children -- is a crime. The Republicans just don't seem to get it.

This week's shameful budget vote brings into sharp relief the urgent need for change.

Please join me in working to overturn the reckless and extremist polices of the Republican Congress. Together, we can give America the responsible government it deserves.

I am running for Congress in Pennsylvania. See my blog at


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