Religious Coalition Tells The GOP That ‘The Budget Shouldn’t Be Balanced On the Backs Of The Poor’

In an address at the National Association of Religious Broadcasters Sunday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) made a moral case for the deep cuts passed by House Republicans, saying, “[i]t is immoral to rob our children’s future and make them beholden to China.” But Sojourners, a progressive group of Christian leaders, looks at the GOP’s deep slashes to the budget in a different light and bought a full-page ad in Politico yesterday that asks legislators to consider, “what would Jesus cut?”

The leader of Sojourners, Rev. Jim Wallis, notes that the GOP’s cuts would severely slash spending for the WIC program, which helps women and infants, Head Start and international aid programs, but would leave “military spending untouched“:

They’re talking about cutting bed nets for malaria and leaving every piece of military spending untouched. Are we saying that every piece of military equipment is more important than bed nets, children’s health and nutrition for low-income families? If so they should be ashamed of themselves.

If House Republicans get their way, they would cut $210 million from Maternal and Health Block Grants, which give low-income mothers, pregnant women, and their children access to health care. They also want to cut $27 million from the Poison Control Center, essentially eliminating the program, even though poisoning primarily affects children under six years old.

The “What would Jesus cut?” ad is signed by many Christian leaders, including the evangelical leader David Beckman, president of the charity Bread for the World. Beckman said in a statement that “[c]utting programs that help those who need them most is morally wrong,” especially because “when Jesus talked about how God will judge nations, he said that God will focus on what we did or did not do for the neediest among us.” The GOP seems to have forgotten this basic tenet of the religion they regularly tout.

The Wonk Room has more on how the GOP’s cuts would prevent 10,000 low-income veterans from receiving housing assistance.

Paul Breer