[Episcopal News Service] Presiding Bishop Michael Curry has added his signature to an open letter from a group of Christian leaders expressing concern over President Donald Trump’s proposed cuts to social welfare programs. In the Feb. 11 letter, Curry and 12 other members of the Circle of Protection, a coalition of leaders from various denominations and institutions, asked Trump and Congress “to maintain adequately funded safety net programs that provide help and opportunity for our most vulnerable neighbors.”
The group took issue with proposals and policies from the administration intended to reduce the number of Americans relying on government assistance programs for low-income people. Among the proposals they singled out in the letter were changes to eligibility for food stamps and free or reduced-price school meals, work requirements for Medicaid, changes in how the poverty line is calculated and evictions of families with undocumented members from public housing.
The coalition also criticized Trump’s proposed federal budget, released on Feb. 10, which The Washington Post reported “would pursue hundreds of billions of dollars in cuts to Medicaid and also seek reductions in the Children’s Health Insurance Program, while wringing some savings from Medicare despite Trump’s repeated promises to safeguard the program for older Americans.”
“We support the goal of helping Americans move from poverty to financial independence,” the letter stated. “But some of the administration’s policy changes and proposed cuts in funding for low-income programs are likely to add to the hunger, poverty, and economic insecurity which are already far too widespread in our country.
“We can do better,” the group wrote, citing Jesus’ mandate to care for the poor in Matthew 25:31-46, and invited Trump to respond to their concerns.