Two prominent metro Atlanta pastors will join other faith leaders in Washington, D.C. to demand that Congress reject the administration’s budget proposal and the healthcare bill.
The Rev. Raphael G. Warnock, senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, and the Rev. Cynthia L. Hale, senior pastor of Ray of Hope Christian Church, are among those who plan to highlight the cuts in President Donald Trump’s budget that would adversely black communities, including proposed decreases in funding for education and civil rights programs.
The group called the proposed budget “immoral.”
"As clergy, we believe that a budget is not just a fiscal document, it is a moral document," said Warnock. "This budget, which slashes programs for those who need it the most in order to provide a tax cut to those who need it the least, suggests that there is a spiritual sickness in the body politic."
It warned that the budget would “likely create an environment for predatory lending to increase.”
The president in March proposed ending the government’s 42-year-old Community Development Block Grant program, which supports affordable housing and anti-poverty initiatives. Georgia awarded $37.7 million in such grants to 74 communities last fall.
Likewise, Trump proposed zeroing out federal support for legal aid, which the White House said would put more control in local hands.
The House Budget Committee is scheduled to unveil its own budget proposal on Tuesday.The group said they also planned to protest the Senate GOP’s health care bill, which on Monday evening was dealt a critical blow when two more Republican lawmakers announced their opposition, enough to kill the effort for now.
The legislation would have fundamentally remade Medicaid, the health care program for the poor, from an open-ended program that covered all of a patient’s eligible costs to a lump-sum program run by the states. Proponents said the change would put the program on a path to fiscal solvency, but critics worried that countless people could get kicked off the rolls as states faced budget shortfalls.
A press conference with faith leaders will be held at 10:30 a.m. at the U.S. Capitol, following by a closed door meeting with several senators.
At 2 p.m. an unspecified “direct social action” will be held at the Russell Senate Office Building.
Faith leaders will also launch a social media campaign calling for the withdrawal healthcare proposal using the hashtags #BlackClergyUprising #BlackClergyVoices.