To the editor,

It is traditional to call this time of year the season of hope. At Christmas, we emphasize sharing with those less fortunate, especially children. Sadly, this natural impulse of generosity toward the vulnerable is conspicuously absent from the actions of the U.S. Congress.

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According to recent news reports, 14 Republican senators, including North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven, stand to reap enormous financial benefit from the tax cut favoring real-estate shell companies added in conference committee to the tax bill at the last minute. Yet, another of the 14, Sen. Orrin Hatch, recently stated on the Senate floor that the U.S. is so short of money that it can't afford to finance the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which Congress failed to re-authorize in September.

Nine million kids benefit from the program and most states will run out of money in the next few months if Congress doesn't act. We are adding to the deficit to please wealthy real-estate investors, but we cannot afford to send children in need to the doctor? What a shocking example of misplaced priorities.

Congress must act quickly to pass 2018 funding bills so CHIP and other programs such as Head Start and Child Care Development Block Grants specifically addressing children's needs can continue. SNAP and Medicaid are also essential for the health and welfare of children in need. Let's insist that Congress meet its obligation to children and fund these life-sustaining programs.

Kathleen Ness

Grand Forks