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Bishop Urges U.S. House to Reject Budget Deal

WASHINGTON, D.C., JAN. 30, 2006 ( A recent budget reconciliation bill fails to “meet the needs of the most vulnerable among us,” says the president of the U.S. bishops’ conference.

In a letter last week to the U.S. House of Representatives, Bishop William Skylstad of Spokane spelled out some concerns over the legislative.

The bishop said his greatest concerns included: increased Medicaid cost-sharing burdens; cuts to child-support enforcement; and changes in temporary-aid programs for needy families which, he says, underfund work programs and child care.

“We recognize that the bill also includes positive elements, such as additional funding for victims of Hurricane Katrina and a program to promote marriage and healthy families,” Bishop Skylstad asked the congressmen in his letter.

“We are also grateful that cuts to the Food Stamps program were dropped from the package,” he said. “However, we believe that, overall, the impact of this bill will be to fail to meet the needs of the most vulnerable among us.

“Therefore, we urge you to reject the conference agreement and work for policies that put poor children and families first.”

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