Catholic Charities USA President Rev. Larry Snyder Statement on President Obama and U.S. Congress Budget Proposals

Feb 15, 2011, 09:59 ET from Catholic Charities USA

A call for greater efficiency in human service programs and a mandate to remember the people most in need

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Feb. 15, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Catholic Charities USA President Rev. Larry Snyder made the following statement regarding President Obama's FY 2012 budget and current budget proposals being discussed within the United States Congress:

"Catholic Charities USA and our local agencies recognize that President Obama and the members of the United States Congress are finally facing many of the same tough decisions our volunteers and the families who we serve through our hundreds of local programs around the country have been struggling with at home during these difficult economic times.

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"We agree with the continued priority President Obama has placed on investing in innovative, effective and efficient programs that address many of our country's greatest community challenges but we acknowledge that tough choices will be made as part of the ongoing budget discussions. Every one of these tough choices will be met with anger, frustration and disappointment from certain segments of the population. Catholic Charities USA recognizes that social service initiatives will not be immune to those difficult decisions.

"However, as the President and members of Congress alike look for savings within the budget, we reject the notion that those most vulnerable among us should feel the greatest impact of future reductions. Data has shown that as much as forty cents of every dollar allocated to existing federal initiatives that provide greatly needed assistance to Americans who continue to struggle through this economic recovery are lost in the bureaucratic red tape associated with those programs.  If we truly want to reform government in a manner that wisely invests in efficiency and efficacy, we urge our nation's policymakers to look for ways to achieve recommended cuts by creating and maximizing bureaucratic efficiency first, rather than by simply sacrificing vital services on the ground, resulting in a further strain on families who are already barely getting by.

"Rather than simply embracing quick answers to the immediate need to shave dollars off the federal budget by impairing local organizations' ability to deliver critical services to those in need, now is the time to work together to create a new national approach to service delivery models that is market driven, results oriented and locally controlled, enabling the country to permanently make a difference in the lives of those living in poverty that have for years been trapped in the same safety net that was originally intended to save them. We can no longer continue to push the same challenges we have been neglecting to address for years onto the next generation of Americans. To that extent, today we ask President Obama and the members of Congress to join us in a critical conversation to identify long term solutions to the entrenched problems facing our country and its many local communities.  But until that conversation takes place, and government takes the steps necessary to reform its service delivery systems, we will continue to fight to ensure that those in need are not affected disproportionately by cuts to critical services.

"We are living in a time of great challenge. Challenge to the country's economy, challenge to our nation's leaders and challenge to every American. But with great challenge comes the opportunity for reinvention. Catholic Charities USA embraces this challenge. We will continue to work every day to provide critical emergency services to those in need, and in so doing, we pledge to continue to work to find greater efficiency within our own programs, and we look forward to working with our country's policymakers to forever change the way we address the needs of so many in our country."

SOURCE Catholic Charities USA