Sister Showdown at Paul Ryan’s Office Over His Wrong Minded Budget
U.S. House Representative Paul Ryan’s Wisconsin hometown of Janesville was taken over yesterday by the arrival of rock star status Nuns on the Bus, who came just to protest the inhumanity of the Republican’s budget. They say the budget is “wrapped up in sound bites” that benefit the 1% while punishing struggling people.
The Catholic nuns were greeted by swarms of supporters, holding signs and cheering for the activist sisters. I daresay the pictures and video suggest there were as many supporters as there were yesterday at W. Mitt Romney’s Michigan campaign stops.
“We’re here to lift up the needs of the people at the margins of our society,” Sister Simone Campbell said. The sisters said they were well received by Paul Ryan’s staff, as the Representative was in DC at the time of their visit.
The nuns have been traveling the country to speak out against the House Republican budget plan authored by Paul Ryan. Their trip is being sponsored by NETWORK, a progressive national Catholic social justice lobby.
At an earlier stop in Iowa, Sister Simone Campbell told the Des Moines Register, “The House budget would decimate our country. It is not in keeping with the spirit of our Constitution.”
The budget bill “all wrapped up in sound bites” would punish struggling people “while benefiting the top 1 percent,” with tax cuts that add to the national debt.
Criticizing Ryan’s individualism stance, she added, “The role of Catholic social teaching is to counter that individualism with a keen knowledge of solidarity.”
Occupy, meet union, meet the Nuns on the Bus, meet social justice.
Whereas the sisters have previously found themselves at odds with the Vatican and Bishops, on the Ryan Budget they are not alone. U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has expressed their concern over the cuts to the hungry.
The Nuns on the Bus’ Janesville stop was not without criticism, with one nun sporting a baseball cap claiming she was embarrassed by what they were doing.
However, the most disturbing response came from Paul Ryan himself. The Republican responded to the Nuns on the Bus stop by issuing a statement that suggested his budget was aimed at supporting the poor, in spite of its heavy cuts to the poor and even greater tax giveaways to the wealthy.
Ryan’s statement: “Economic stagnation, and a growing dependency on government assistance, continues to push this country toward a debt crisis, in which those who get hurt the first and the worst are the poor, the sick and the elderly, the people who need government the most.”
There quite simply is no logic to using deficits as an excuse to cut spending for the poor, as so called social programs don’t eat up nearly the budget as defense spending, and not all defense spending is war spending. In fact, defense spending amounts at times to welfare for certain states, predominately red states. Republicans insist that cuts come from social programs instead of defense spending, and is the reason they could not agree to a deficit plan on the Super Committee.
With the Bush tax cuts still in effect and Republicans (and seven Democrats) threatening to not help the middle class unless the tax cuts for the rich are renewed, the deficit can’t be addressed. Republicans are draining our resources to give handouts to the rich, while simultaneously making drastic cuts to the vulnerable.
In Ryan’s home state, the feds had to stop Governor Scott Walker’s harsh Medicaid cuts. These kinds of cuts are not only inhumane, but the CBO has shown that spending on unemployment benefits, for example, is one of the better ways to stimulate the economy. We have to have demand for goods and the money to spend on them in order for recovery to continue. So whether we’re just being practical or we really care about our neighbor, taking care of those with the least among us is the right thing to do.
Who will stop the House Republicans from their reverse Robinhood cuts? Maybe the Nuns on the Bus.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.