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Senate vote on the
New York, December 21, 2005 – The tie vote in the U.S. Senate on the fiscal year 2006 budget, broken by Vice President Dick Cheney’s ballot, demonstrates the power of one person to make changes for good or ill, the general secretary of the National Council of Churches USA said today.
The Rev. Dr. Bob Edgar, expressing his disappointment at the narrow passage of the 2006 budget that includes billions of dollars of cuts for social programs for the poor, said the vote “is evidence of the divisions that exist in our nation.”
“Vice President Cheney’s one vote tipped the balance of this budget from need to greed,” Edgar said.
The one-vote margin “shows that half the Senate understands how billions of dollars of cuts in social programs would hurt the poor and voted for those in need,” Edgar said, “The other half of the Senate, in granting continued tax cuts for the rich, voted for greed.”
The power of the individual to effect change, demonstrated by the Vice President, should inspire those who “worked so hard to influence the government to do the right thing,” Edgar said. “Single individuals who unite on behalf of persons in need will someday prevail. Next year is another year, and God’s vote is always for the poor.”
The full text of Edgar’s statement follows:
The one-vote margin to pass the fiscal year 2006 budget in the Senate is evidence of the divisions that exist in our nation. The budget, which required the vote of Vice President Dick Cheney to pass, shows that half of the senate understands how billions of dollars of cuts in social programs would hurt the poor and voted for those in need. The other half of the senate, in granting continued tax cuts for the rich, voted for greed.
During the very season that we celebrate the difference that Jesus Christ made in the world, we unfortunately have to recognize that not all use their power for good. The words of the Apostle John resonate here: “…let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action” (1 John 3:18).
The United States, perhaps more than any other nation on earth, afford much power to the individual. Vice President Cheney’s one vote tipped the balance of this budget from need to greed. Let this be a message to all those who worked so hard to influence the government to do the right thing: the power of one to bring about change is undiminished. Single individuals who unite on behalf of persons in need will someday prevail. Next year is another year, and God’s vote is always for the poor.
For several weeks, the National Council of Churches USA and many other faith organizations have worked hard to remind our elected representatives that the proposed fiscal year 2006 budget is immoral and does not reflect the values of our nation.
The Congress has now passed a budget that is based on the assumption that the poor are expendable. Each senator and each representative who voted for this budget will no doubt rationalize it as fiscally responsible. But history will record that at a time of great need, when the citizens of this nation were struggling with the ill effects of war and natural disaster, this government turned its back on the poor. Vice President Dick Cheney, in casting the deciding vote, has demonstrated a particular cynicism that history will not forget. And to those courageous senators who voted against this budget, take heart: history will remember you with gratitude and kindness.
See related stories:
Secretary expresses dismay at House passage of 2006 federal budget
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