On Monday, June 25, my husband and I waited outside Speaker John Boehner's office in West Chester, Ohio, to welcome the "Nuns on the bus" (12 nuns) which started in Iowa on June 17 and has been traveling through Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ohio and continued through Pennsylvania and Virginia to Washington, D.C., on July 2. We had listened to the local Fox news in the morning which said Speaker Boehner would meet with the nuns. About 35 to 40 people gathered to greet the group of nuns who are driving through the nine states for faith, family and fairness. The group consisted of Catholics, Methodists, Church of Christ, Muslim, Jewish and no denomination. All those present were concerned about the Paul Ryan budget plan which would make unfair cuts for programs that help people and continues the Bush tax cuts for the top 1 percent of the country.
The nuns arrived on time and proceeded into Speaker Boehner's Office while we stayed outside. After 10 minutes, they returned for a press conference, telling us that they shared stories of people and organizations that need assistance with one of Speaker Boehner's staff who listened and took notes. There was not any sign of Speaker Boehner who supported the Ryan budget. After only three of the nuns talked to us, the West Chester Police dispersed the crowd and said the bus needed to move. Sister Simone Campbell did share that we must continue the fight for fairness and justice.
The nuns and people from Network joined with people of other faiths to write, "A faithful budget which must promote a compassionate and comprehensive vision for the future. As communities of faith, we call on our elected leaders to craft a federal budget that fulfills our shared duty to each other in all segments of society to those who are struggling to overcome poverty or are especially vulnerable, and to future generations through our collective responsibility as stewards of Creation. We call on Congress and the Administration to craft a federal budget that protects the common good, values each individual and his or her livelihood, and helps lift the burden on the poor, rather than increasing it while shielding the wealthiest from any additional sacrifice."
If the Ryan budget were to go into effect, the state of Ohio would have $72.6 million cut from the Head Start budget, more than $110.8 million from special education which would affect nearly 63,937 students, end a tax credit that would help 107,210 Ohio small businesses provide insurance to their employees, 177 million meals for families needing food stamps would be eliminated. All this would result in about 10,000 jobs lost. How will this help the economy?
The past couple of days news networks have reported how the Catholic sisters and their bishops may disagree. But one thing must be made clear that the sisters and the bishops are in agreement when it comes to concern for those who are hurting in this economy and the importance of passing a budget that is right and just for the country's poor and vulnerable.
Let your representative and senators know that the needs of those who are hungry and homeless, without work or in poverty should come first.