Rabbi David Saperstein spoke this morning alongside religious leaders from across the country urging Congress: “Don’t push the poor and most vulnerable off the ‘fiscal cliff.’” Joined by leaders of some of the nation’s most prominent Christian and Muslim organizations, Rabbi Saperstein stressed, “It is simply not acceptable that deficit reduction might increase the burden on those struggling the most in our communities. It is intolerable that debt reduction should come on the backs of the poorest among us, that it increase poverty or inequality.”

After the press conference, Rabbi Saperstein joined religious officials from 16 states in meetings with Members of Congress. In a meeting with Sen. Durbin (D-IL), Saperstein again stressed the importance of non-defense discretionary programs to the livelihoods of those living in poverty both at home and abroad. He referred again to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which he had Rabbi Saperstein Urges Congress Not to Balance the Budget on the Backs of the Poorest emphasized in his morning speech: “Programs like SNAP, which will help feed one out of every two American children before they turn 21.  Have we lost our capacity to be shocked? Then let me repeat: One out of every two children in America will depend on SNAP before they turn 21.” Dr. Iva Carruthers, of African American Voices for Africa, reiterated the need for foreign assistance, especially to African programs.

All repeated the need to lift this issue up, to make it a priority, and to continue with commitments such as those put forth in the Faithful Budget Campaign. Sen. Durbin responded in wholehearted agreement, suggesting that personal stories are crucial in order to bring a human face to the negotiations.

Click here to read the rest of Rabbi Saperstein’s statement.


Photo Credit: Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.