Child advocates oppose devastating budget measures by House
House committees propose huge cuts to health services, food assistance and other child programs
WASHINGTON – Voices for America’s Children, the nation’s largest network of multi-issue child advocacy organizations, today announced its opposition to alarming House plans to cut federal spending on programs for needy families.
“These cuts amount to an attack on food stamps, social services, and other support that families in need rely on,” said Bill Bentley, president and CEO of Voices for America’s Children. “The programs the House would cut are for many the backbone of child health, nutrition and success in school, especially as families continue to struggle in the wake of the recession.”
Congress would permanently repeal the Social Services Block Grant under a plan passed by the House Ways and Means Committee Thursday, slashing $1.7 billion a year that goes to help fund daycare, protective services for children, special services to persons with disabilities, adoption, health-related services, foster care for children or adults, and much more. That plan would also effectively exclude many immigrants from collecting the Child Tax Credit and take away subsidies for health coverage provided by the health reform law.
Food stamps would lose nearly $36 billion under a plan reported by the House agriculture committee, which could mean 2 million Americans cut from food assistance – and children make up half of food stamp recipients. Because food stamp eligibility also qualifies children for school nutrition programs (like free and reduced-price lunch), some 280,000 children stand to lose those, too.
“Nearly 4 million Texans rely on food stamps, and Texas has one of the highest percentages of families at risk of hunger,” said Eileen Garcia, CEO of Voices member organization Texans Care for Children. “It’s simply unconscionable that the House would propose such devastating cuts to this assistance, especially considering that half of all food stamp recipients are children.”
The U.S. House will soon consider a “reconciliation” bill to give real effect to Rep. Ryan’s draconian House budget resolution, passed on a party-line vote earlier this year. House committees are proposing drastic cuts to anti-poverty programs to meet the severely reduced spending levels outlined in that resolution.
Close to two-thirds of the cuts identified in the Ryan budget would come from programs serving low-income families, including Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps), according to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.
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As the nation’s largest network of multi-issue child advocacy organizations, Voices for America’s Children (Voices) has been on the forefront of every major child policy victory for the past quarter-century. With 62 members nationwide, Voices speaks up for kids, and mobilizes and advocates for public policies to improve the lives of all children, especially those most vulnerable, throughout the United States. Visit us at www.voices.org.
Voices is a founding member of the Children’s Leadership Council, a coalition of more than 50 leading national policy and advocacy organizations. www.childrensleadershipcouncil.com.