CWS, Faith Leaders Warn Against Brinkmanship in Budget Talks

September 30, 2013

NEW YORK – Responding to the threat of a possible shutdown of the U.S. government, CWS President and CEO, the Rev. John L. McCullough joined faith leaders in denouncing the political posturing and brinksmanship that have pushed the nation to the edge of a partial cease in government operations for the first time in 17 years.

In his remarks at a telephone press conference this morning, McCullough said he and other faith leaders share “dismay that ideological rigidity and unwillingness to compromise have brought our nation to the point of a government shutdown and financial default.

“According to our faith traditions, government leaders are called to enact policies that benefit the people,” he said. But a shutdown, McCullough said, will create hardships for many Americans, and may stall the economic recovery.

“Vital services for poor and middle class Americans could be halted,” he said. “Internationally, the U.S. government will not be able to make any new contributions to agencies that deliver food aid and other services to poor and hungry people around the world, nor respond to new humanitarian emergencies. Over time, hungry people relying on U.S. aid will not receive food and children will not receive inoculations against disease.”

In a letter released today (, 33 faith leaders urged members of Congress to keep the government open and asked that “lawmakers address their concerns through the proper legislative channels.”

Said McCullough, “For decades Democrats and Republican alike have agreed on the vital importance of robust humanitarian and development assistance. But the myopia of some House members and their unwillingness to compromise has eroded this consensus, literally taking away food from the mouths of hungry children.”

Also participating in the press conference this morning were Sister Simone Campbell SSS, executive director, NETWORK, A National Catholics Social Justice Lobby; the Rev. David Beckmann, president, Bread for the World (press conference moderator); Rabbi David Saperstein, director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism; Dr. Sayyid Syeed, national director, Office for Interfaith and Community Alliances, Islamic Society of North America; and the Rev. Jim Wallis, president, Sojourners.

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