WASHINGTON, April 24 (UPI) -- Dozens of Georgetown University faculty members signed a letter to Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., challenging his use of Catholic teaching to defend budget cuts.
The letter was signed by a dozen Georgetown Jesuit priests and about 70 administrators and numerous members who welcomed Ryan to the campus Thursday for a talk on how Catholic social teaching can help inform effective policy, The Hill reported.
"However, we would be remiss in our duty to you and our students if we did not challenge your continuing misuse of Catholic teaching to defend a budget plan that decimates food programs for struggling families, radically weakens protections for the elderly and sick, and gives more tax breaks to the wealthiest few," the letter said. "In short, your budget appears to reflect the values of your favorite philosopher, Ayn Rand, rather than the Gospel of Jesus Christ."
The letter said Rand's "call to selfishness and her antagonism toward religion are antithetical to the Gospel values of compassion and love."
Ryan's budget calls for cutting day-to-day operating budgets for domestic agencies below the level in last summer's bipartisan budget and debt deal, including $36 billion in cuts to food stamps over a decade and an effort to eliminate programs such as child care, adoption assistance and help for the disabled as well as the Affordable Care Act implementation, The Hill said.
An analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities said Ryan's proposal would cut Medicaid funding by $810 billion over the next 10 years. By 2022, states would be receiving an average of 34 percent less in federal Medicaid funding than under current law. Half of most state's Medicaid funding is for caring for the elderly poor in nursing homes and other programs.
"Chairman Ryan remains grateful for Georgetown's invitation to advance a thoughtful dialogue this week on his efforts to avert a looming debt crisis that would hurt the poor the first and the worst," Ryan's office said in an e-mail, CNN reported. "Ryan looks forward to affirming our shared commitment to a preferential option for the poor, which of course does not mean a preferential option for bigger government."
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