From CNS, Staff and other sources
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In letters to congressional leaders, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops urged a “circle of protection” around programs that serve “the least among us.” The letters, from Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, Calif., chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace, were sent after the House of Representa-tives adopted a $3.5 trillion budget resolution on March 27 written by Rep. Paul Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin. The plan calls for spending cuts in nonmilitary programs, turning Medicaid into a block grant program administered by the states, reshaping Medicare over the next decade and simplifying the tax code by closing loopholes and lowering individual and corporate tax rates. The bishops called for a budget that reflects a “shared sacrifice by all, including raising adequate revenues,” the elimination of unnecessary military spending and fairly addressing long-term costs associated with health insurance and retirement costs. Bishop Blaire said the House-passed budget “fails to meet these moral criteria.”