Children & the Federal Budget
What’s the connection?
Budgets are the single best indicator of a government’s priorities. Large increases or drastic cuts in funding for programs or other services for kids are clear indicators of what policymakers value. All states depend on federal funding to provide vital children services from education to child care to nutrition assistance, which means that budget decisions made at the federal level can have a big impact on state and local programs.
For years now, child advocates have been active participants in budget analysis and advocacy at the state level to ensure adequate state funding for vital children’s services and programs. In order to protect the important gains for children achieved in the states, advocates for children must also engage in the federal budget process.
Analysis of President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2013 Budget
Earlier this month, President Obama submitted his budget request for Fiscal 2013 to the Congress. Like other years, the president’s budget is the official start of the budget process in the Congress and sets the tone for debate in Congress. Those debates have been increasingly shrill and political in recent years and 2012 will be no different.
The analysis and review here looks at how children and families fare. Many critical programs and services for children are funded in the federal budget each year—from Title I services, to child care subsidies, to health care services in Medicaid and resources for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, to grants and aid to students provided by Pell Grants and Federal Student Loans Programs, to the many services and supports like unemployment benefits, food assistance and nutrition programs and others.
The frame and analysis here is simply “how are children’s services faring in the budget.” While children’s advocates support bringing the budget deficit down to levels more in keeping with historical norms, an equally important priority that should not be overlooked is to ensure that the needs of children and their families are met so we are preparing the next generations for a more prosperous and productive future.
For a copy of Voices analysis, please click here.