Top US Republican rejects criticism by Catholic bishops

The top Republican in the U.S. Congress on Wednesday defended his party’s proposed deficit-cutting federal budget plan against complaints by Roman Catholic bishops that it would hurt the poor and violate certain “moral criteria.”

House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner argued that matters would worsen, with the government eventually unable to afford programs for the needy, unless it stops spending more money than it takes in.

Boehner, who is Catholic, acknowledged that the bishops have a “moral argument,” but said, “I want them to take a bigger look.”

“The bigger look is if we don’t make decisions (to slash spending), these programs won’t exist, and then they will really have something to worry about,” Boehner said at his weekly news conference.

In defending the Republicans’ proposed spending cuts, Boehner did not mention another option to help reduce the deficit – raising taxes, which his party opposes. [more]