Rabbi Saperstein: "Congress can only safeguard against future threats to the most vulnerable among us by seriously applying itself to the task of justly and morally balancing the budget."
WASHINGTON, D.C., May 26, 2011 -- In response to the Senate's vote Wednesday evening against the Ryan Budget, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism issued the following statement:
On Wednesday evening, the Senate wisely, and with bipartisan support, rejected a budget that among other things would have left greater numbers of children hungry and more seniors and low-income families without health care. The House-passed budget, which was sponsored by Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI), reflected neither the values of economic justice nor of fiscal discipline. True, it would have exacted $4.3 trillion in spending cuts, mostly from programs that protect the disadvantaged, but it also would have cut taxes by $4.2 trillion dollars, starving the federal government of the money needed to revive a still ailing economy and put jobless Americans back to work.
While we hail the defeat of this specific attack on working families, the victory is hollow for two reasons. First, with the imminent debate over raising the debt ceiling looming, the threat of the constituent parts of the Ryan budget remains potent. Block granting of Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and privatization of Medicare will undoubtedly return in the form of riders and bargaining chips in upcoming political debates and should be guarded against vigilantly. Secondly, the opponents of the Ryan budget have yet to coalesce behind a credible plan to restore fiscal order, something that is desperately needed.
Congress can only safeguard against future threats to the most vulnerable among us by seriously applying itself to the task of justly and morally balancing the budget. The Ryan budget did not come close to meeting that challenge, which can only be achieved by securing more revenue for the federal government and by scouring all sectors of the budget for savings, including the defense budget.