WASHINGTON – Eleven religious leaders protesting budget cuts affecting the poor were arrested in the Capitol Thursday as the House began debate on a bill to cut spending and raise the debt ceiling.
Before making the arrests, police cleared the Capitol Rotunda where the protesters, organized by the group Common Cause, were kneeling, praying and singing.
Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree of Maine said on the House floor that they were praying for those who will be "hurt the hardest" by the bill being considered.
One of those detained, Rev. Michael Livingston, past president of the National Council of the Churches of Christ, said: "Our elected officials are protecting corporations and wealthy individuals while shredding the safety net for millions of the most vulnerable people in our nation and abroad."