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Catholic Charities leaders push priorities with Congress on 'Hill Day'


  • Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States, delivers the homily during Mass at St. Joseph Church on Capitol Hill in Washington March 29. The nuncio celebrated Mass with Catholic Charities leaders prior to the start of their "Hill Day" meetings with Congress. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)
  • Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States, delivers the homily during Mass at St. Joseph Church on Capitol Hill in Washington March 29. The nuncio celebrated Mass with Catholic Charities leaders prior to the start of their "Hill Day" meetings with Congress. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)
  • Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States, is seen at St. Joseph Church on Capitol Hill in Washington March 29. The nuncio celebrated Mass with Catholic Charities leaders prior to the start of their "Hill Day" meetings with Congress. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)
  • Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States, delivers the homily during Mass at St. Joseph Church on Capitol Hill in Washington March 29. The nuncio celebrated Mass with Catholic Charities leaders prior to the start of their "Hill Day" meeting with Congress. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)
  • Terry Walsh, president and chief executive office of Catholic Charities Hawaii, is seen in Washington March 29. He was among diocesan leaders meeting with Congress during Catholic Charities USA's "Hill Day." (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)
  • Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States, is seen during Mass at St. Joseph Church on Capitol Hill in Washington March 29. The nuncio celebrated Mass with Catholic Charities leaders prior to the start of their "Hill Day" meetings with Congress. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)

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WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Four years ago, Ted Bergh was asking members of Congress to support food programs and comprehensive immigration reform, issues of deep concern to Catholic Charities of Southwestern Ohio, which he serves as CEO.

Bergh was back on Capitol Hill March 29 for Catholic Charities USA's Hill Day with the same concerns and a few more in a time of uncertainty under a new White House administration.

Catholic Charities leaders spent the second day of their two-day meeting pressing support for federally funded social services -- in many cases their lifeblood -- that touch the lives of the millions of people they serve. Their concerns encompassed affordable housing, protections for immigrants and refugees, services for senior citizens, and food programs in schools and rural communities -- all in response to the deep cuts in social services proposed in President Donald Trump's "skinny" budget.

The budget -- a preliminary plan with specifics due in May -- calls for $54 billion in cuts in discretionary spending in nonmilitary programs including many social services. The budget calls for a corresponding boost in military spending.

The proposed reapportioning of the federal budget did not sit well with Robert McCann, president and CEO of Catholic Charities Spokane in Washington state. He said he wanted to stress to Congress that a budget is a values-based document that answers the question, "What is most important to us?"

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