Dem lawmaker implies GOP budget violates biblical teachings

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) last week implied that the House Republican budget resolution goes against many of the teachings found in the Bible, and said Republicans need to explain how they can justify their budget based on these discrepancies.

Schakowsky noted that at Seder, the feast marking the beginning of the Jewish holiday Passover, the youngest person asks four questions in an effort to understand the holiday. In keeping with that format, Schakowsky suggested four questions that could be asked of Republicans to describe their budget.

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First, Schakowsky suggested asking Republicans, "Why does your budget resolution protect and indeed increase the wealth of the already wealthy at the expense of everyone else?" She then implied that the GOP budget goes against Proverbs 22:16, which says, "He who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth and he who gives gifts to the rich — both come to poverty."

This first question reflects Democratic complaints that the GOP budget relies too heavily on spending cuts. Schakowsky said the budget does not raises taxes on "highly profitable Big Oil companies," and instead asks "seniors, children, the poor and middle-class families to sacrifice more and more."

Schakowsky then asked, "Why does your budget resolution take away the Medicare guarantee?" and quoted Leviticus 19:32, "You shall give due honor and respect to the elderly."

She said Republicans failed to live up to that passage by proposing $810 billion in cuts to Medicaid over the next decade.

The third question she asked was, "Why does your budget resolution increase defense spending while cutting investments in our children and families?" Here, she relied on Proverbs 16:11, "A just balance and scales are the Lord's."

Schakowsky implied that the GOP budget fails to meet this standard by increasing defense spending and cutting other federal programs, even though the U.S. defense budget is "higher than the next 17 nations in the world combined."

And last, she asked, "Why does your budget resolution take away food from the poor?" To back up this question, she quoted 1 John 3:17 18, which states, "If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth."

Schakowsky said that while 50 million Americans are undernourished, the GOP budget cuts and caps federal food assistance.

Republicans spent much of last week rejecting the broad Democratic argument that budgets are moral documents and the implication that the GOP budget lacks a moral grounding because it cuts programs that people rely on.

During debate last week, Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) said explicitly that the budget proposal from House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) was "morally bankrupt."

Rep. Rob Woodall (R-Ga.) replied that by failing to scale back the size of government, Democrats are failing a different moral test by allowing trillions of dollars in debt to be passed to the next generation.

"When we talk about the morality of our budgets, we've got to talk about the morality of continuing to run budgets that are unbalanced," Woodall said. "We've got to talk about the morality of continuing to pay for our priorities today with IOUs from our children in the future."

Ryan's budget easily passed the House last week in a 235-193 vote, although 10 Republicans rejected it, most because it did not cut spending quickly enough.

However, two Republicans, Reps. Denny Rehberg (Mont.) and David McKinley (W.Va.), argued that the budget's proposed changes to Medicare were too drastic.