Well, an outrageous tax bill passed Congress on Dec. 20 as a kind of Christmas present to wealthy Americans, and it will surely be signed into law by President Donald Trump. But no person, no group, describes the results of this law quite as clearly as Network (the Catholic social justice lobby on the Hill).
Social Justice Sr. Simone Campbell, executive director of Network, explained its consequences quite straightforwardly:
We know what will happen now that this tax plan is law: the budget shortfall created by outrageous tax cuts for the wealthiest will pressure Republicans in Congress to, once again, balance the budget on the backs of people in poverty. President Trump and Speaker [Paul] Ryan have already called for cuts to vital life-saving programs like Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, and food programs.
I want to cry when I read those words. This congressional action is truly antithetical to the message of the Gospel, which calls on those with wealth to share their bounty with those in need. Yet, this tax bill does precisely the opposite: It gives sizeable tax breaks to the wealthy, creating deficits that will give license to those who want to cut programs for the poor.
But Campbell continues, "NETWORK will fight to make sure families, workers, and other vulnerable people will not pay for this tax giveaway to the wealthy."
Of course, many members of Congress who voted for this legislation will likely assume a "religious face" when they stand before voters. Some may even quote Scripture, although they might be hard-pressed to find a passage to support their vote. For Scripture says, "Whatever you do for the least of these, you do unto me."
But the women and men of Network know Scripture and its expressed concern for the poor and needy. They are a blessing on the Hill simply because they speak the Gospel message in the face of legislation such as this.