The budget came under fire from religious leaders for its substantial cuts to food assistance programs, Medicare, Medicaid, and other safety net programs — overall, 62 percent of its spending cuts come from programs that benefit the poor and middle class. In a release, the religious leaders blasted the budget for “eviscerating…programs that provide pathways out of poverty for millions of families”:
“The proposed cuts of Representative Ryan in the Ryan’s Budget are immoral and unjustifiable and will be putting the burden on the poor,” said Father Fred Daily of All Saints Church. “I think that all people of faith should be in the streets proclaiming the immorality of these proposed cuts.”
The protest also called on Rep. Anne-Marie Buerkle (R), who represents Syracuse and the surrounding area, to repudiate the budget cuts. Buerkle voted for the budget’s passage in April. “I ask you Congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle, as a graduate of Saint Joseph School of Nursing; whose mission is to follow the gospel message and to be at one with the poor and marginalized, to consider your vote and vote against the Romney/Ryan budget. If this budget does go through many of our friends and neighbors here in Syracuse will have drastic cuts to their services,” Sister Pat Bergan of Saint Lucy’s Church said in the release.
The House budget, which GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney called “marvelous” earlier this year, has been roundly criticized by faith leaders as an “immoral disaster” that contains cuts to food assistance and other programs that, in the words of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, are “unjustified and wrong.” The nuns recently challenged Romney to spend a day with them in order to see what those spending cuts would mean for the poor, but his campaign has yet to respond.