The Common Good

Letter: Shield poor from sequestration

Date: February 25, 2013

Eighty-eight faith leaders wrote President Obama and congressional leaders Feb. 25 urging them to protect hunger and poverty programs as they seek to avert government spending cuts due to take effect March 1.

The letter is from The Circle of Protection, a coalition of Catholic, evangelical, mainline Protestant, black and Latino Christian leaders formed two years ago to resist attempts to balance the federal budget on the backs of the poor. Monday’s missive is a reminder of that message as Washington braces for a political battle over “sequestration,” automatic across-the-board spending cuts postponed as part of a “fiscal cliff” deal at the end of last year.

“Leaders in Washington face serious moral choices on sequester and the budget that will have significant consequences for millions of people across the country,” said Jim Wallis, president and CEO of Sojourners and one of the faith leaders who signed the letter.

“The faith community is urging them to offer moral leadership by protecting vulnerable people living in poverty from further harm and ending the brinksmanship that has slowed our economic recovery,” said Wallis, who attends First Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. “It’s time to move away from ideological politics to save our nation’s fiscal and moral soul. Now is the time for Washington to create an opportunity agenda that ensures everyone is included in the recovery of our economy.”