In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Congress has delayed consideration of a "FY' 06 Federal Budget Reconciliation" package that includes deep cuts to vital programs that serve the working poor, children and seniors. Leadership in the House and Senate has indicated that they will proceed with the Reconciliation Bill in October. Reconciliation and its reductions in key programs must not go forward.
This week leaders of several mainline denominations joined Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold in calling on Congress to stop the budget reconciliation process: "The devastation wrought by Katrina has exposed the anguished faces of the poor in the wealthiest nation on the planet. These faces, precious in the eyes of God, cause us to remember that racial disparities and poverty exist in almost every community in our nation. They also compel us to set before Congress once again our concerns for the FY '06 federal budget and its impact on people living in poverty. With renewed urgency, we call on Congress to stop the FY '06 federal budget reconciliation process immediately."
Even before Hurricane Katrina, the U.S. Census Bureau reported in detail that poverty in the United States is growing. The annual report, Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2004 showed that 37.0 million people lived in poverty in 2004, an increase of more than one million people since 2003. The cuts proposed in the Budget Reconciliation Bill will strain to the breaking point programs that are vital to survivors of Hurricane Katrina -- including Medicaid, the Food Stamp Program and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Contact your members of Congress today and urge them to oppose "the budget reconciliation process". TO SEND A MESSAGE TO YOUR SENATORS AND REPRESENTATIVES CLICK HERE.