By Vatican News
In a statement released on Tuesday on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) website, Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the Conference's Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, calls on lawmakers in Congress and the White House to reach a deal on the next COVID relief package that meets the urgent needs of the nation.
In his statement, Archbishop Coakley recalls that earlier this year, the leaders of the US government agreed on a bipartisan deal to provide significant relief to persons affected by the health and economic crises the U.S. continues to face.
"Many of the good relief measures in that previous package are running out," he notes. "Families and individuals are having trouble affording food, housing, and health care, and hunger-related crises grow internationally. Many non-public schools must choose between reopening and permanent closure and require additional assistance to safely reopen. Hospitals are bracing for a spike of cases in the Fall and continue to experience fewer preventative and elective health visits. Cases are spiking in detention centers, prisons and jails. Many businesses and charities are suffering dire hardship again. States, cities, and towns face shortfalls providing essential services."
In light of this, Archbishop Coakley asks leaders in Washington to once again "set aside their differences in order to reach an agreement that prioritizes the poor and vulnerable."
He urges all those with the power to do so to work with "a heart that eagerly responds to the cry of the poor.”