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Catholic, other religious leaders decry U.S. government shutdown

October 1, 2013
© Catholic News Service

Anticipating the worst, religious leaders gathered the day before the federal government shut down to denounce what they called "political brinkmanship. Shutting down the government will do real damage," said the Rev. David Beckmann, a Lutheran minister and president of the Christian citizens' anti-hunger lobby Bread for the World, at a Sept. 30 news conference. "Risking our nation's creditworthiness will do even more damage. Most clearly, the disruption and uncertainty will put the brakes on our economy." The chairmen of three committees of the U.S. bishops weighed in Oct. 1, saying in a joint letter to Congress: "A just framework for future budgets cannot rely on disproportionate cuts in essential services to poor persons. It requires shared sacrifice by all, including raising adequate revenues, eliminating unnecessary military and other spending, and addressing the long-term costs of health insurance and retirement programs fairly." The government shut down its nonessential operations Oct. 1, the start of a new federal fiscal year, furloughing hundreds of thousands of workers. At issue is a dispute between the Republican-controlled house and the Democratic-run Senate.

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