Pelosi criticizes callous federal cuts to kids, thanks Voices and other advocates
The House yesterday approved a plan to replace its scheduled federal budget cuts with even more severe cuts, many of them affecting children’s programs. By a vote of 218-199, the House approved a “reconciliation” bill that would spare at the expense of services for children and low-income families (learn more in our newsletter, Speaking Out!). While the Senate and President Obama have made clear that this budget is going nowhere, it’s still disturbing to see a majority in a chamber of Congress supporting nasty program cuts for kids.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi cited the opposition of Voices and some of its allies in a speech delivered against the House budget: “Because this legislation will have devastating impact, it’s opposed by numerous organizations: from Easter Seals, the National Women’s Law Center, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Voices for America’s Children.”
We thank Pelosi for the mention, and also for her support of children in federal budget matters. In the same remarks, Pelosi said, “When people ask me what are the three most important issues facing the Congress, I always say the same thing: ‘our children, our children, our children.’ ”
The budget also came under attack from some conservatives, with one Republican calling the legislation “election-year grandstanding.” Knowing that this budget will be spiked by both Obama and the Senate, members of the House seem to want to make a statement instead of serious policy.
The House passed $36 billion in cuts to food stamps, meaning 2 million Americans would lose food assistance. We’re particularly concerned about these cuts because children are half of all food stamp recipients. That means around 22 million children would see reduced or eliminated benefits. And since getting food stamps also enrolls kids in things like free and reduced-price lunch, some 280,000 children stand to lose that, too.
Another $1.7 billion in support for daycare, adoption, protective services and other programs would be eliminated through the repeal of the Social Services Block Grant. It would also effectively exclude immigrants from collecting the Child Tax Credit, which helps working families with the costs of raising children. Subsidies from the health reform law that would help low-income families afford coverage would also lose out.