Nun and Paul Ryan Debate Poverty in Racine

Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Ryan and the GOP are on the defensive over healthcare bill
Paul Ryan, the House Speaker, faced a few tough questions at a town hall forum fronted by CNN. The questioners were from Racine, Wisconsin. Ryan praised President Donald J. Trump on the latter's speech concerning the war in Afghanistan. Then the discussion was led to another topic altogether by a Dominican nun, Sister Erica Jordan from Wisconsin. She accused Ryan and the GOP for failing to uphold the basic Catholic tenets.

Sister Jordan started her question with a preamble that she knows Ryan to be a Catholic like herself. She then proceeded to tell him that it is clear to her Congress does not want to represent the working class and the poor, as seen in the Republican actions when it came to anticipated tax reforms and healthcare. She then asked the elected representative whether he sees himself as “upholding the church’s social teaching that has the idea that God is always on the side of the poor and dispossessed as should we be?”

This question by Jordan comes at an opportune time. Republican efforts to destroy the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare have made it extremely unpopular, more so in Catholic circles. Fierce opposition has been launched by Catholic nuns, with thousands of them signing a letter condemning the Senate bill which goes against the teachings of the Catholic faith. The same concerns were echoed by the Sisters of Mercy, with the latter's authors pointing out the Republican bill will increase the suffering of the vulnerable and the poor. The situation has become so dire that U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the nuns have clashed over the healthcare legislation, termed the Republican effort “simply unacceptable.”

House Speaker Ryan spoke like a true politician when he tried to answer the question. Amid the loud and prolonged public applause for Jordan, the speaker began a lengthy polemic where he tried to prove that the legislative proposals are in tandem with what was taught in Catholicism. He told the Dominican nun-and the audience- he is in complete agreement with her about the latter's concerns for the poor. He then proceeded to tell her the Republican administration disagrees on the ways to achieve that goal. The politician stressed on mobility, equality of opportunity and economic growth. Ryan said instead of linking success to spending, it is vital to measure any project on the outcomes.

Resources

Follow the Conversation on Twitter