A recent New Yorker cartoon showed one man sizing up another man in a clerical collar: “I see you’re a member of a faith-based organization.” We’re bound to hear a lot more public conversation about “faith-based organizations” during the presidency of George W. Bush.
Last month marked the tenth anniversary of President Clinton’s welfare reform law, which imposed time limits for receiving cash assistance and required welfare recipients—including single mothers with young children—to work. Highly controversial at the time, the measure has become so much a part of the political landscape that welfare now hardly figures as an election-year issue.
By a 216-214 vote, the House of Representatives has passed a controversial budget-cutting bill opposed vigorously as “immoral” by mainline and ecumenical church leaders late in 2005. The bill, which President Bush said he would sign, trims federal budget programs by nearly $40 billion over the next five years. The February 1 vote by the House included no Democrats in favor.
More Americans requested emergency food and shelter in U.S. cities last year than the year before, according to a national survey by the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Some service providers were forced to turn clients away, and officials fear that caring for relocated hurricane victims could further inundate urban agencies in 2006.
Martha was blind until four years ago, when Medicaid paid for her to have a corneal transplant. For the first time in her life she could see. Now she has a job. But with recent cuts in funding, Martha has lost her Medicaid. She can no longer afford the antirejection medicine she must take daily because of her transplant. And without the medicine she will slowly go blind.
In a direct action by church progressives who have repeatedly decried the federal spending cuts affecting the poor, more than 100 activists were arrested for blocking an entrance to a congressional office building during a frigid, pre-Christmas confrontation.
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