Policy Priorities

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Budget Deal Reached

December 12, 2013

This week the House and Senate budget leaders reached a deal that makes some progress, rolling back a portion of the sequester cuts in 2014 and 2015, mitigating their disastrous effects on children and vulnerable families.  However, it leaves even larger sequester cuts fully in place after 2015 that would result in funding levels far too low to meet national needs, and it does not extend emergency unemployment insurance benefits for the 1.3 million long-term unemployed who will lose benefits just after Christmas. The President’s Council of Economic Advisors estimates that allowing this unemployment insurance to expire will cost the economy 240,000 jobs and will impact the families of 3.6 million children by the end of 2014. This is the first time that Congress would let long-term unemployment insurance benefits expire when more than 1.3 percent of the labor force is in that category. Today, 2.6 percent of the labor force is long-term unemployed in this still sluggish economy.

We were disappointed that the budget negotiators failed to ask the richest Americans and corporations to pay their fair share, or close even the smallest and most egregious tax loopholes that could fund desperately needed investments in children and poor families that would strengthen the American economy for years to come. Just eight weeks’ worth of the amount we spend on corporate tax breaks would be enough to extend emergency unemployment insurance for one full year.

While this deal is expected to pass both the House and Senate, 16.1 million poor children in America need you to ask your Senators and Representatives to resolve to “Be Careful What You Cut!” in the new year. Tell them that investments for children and the poor can and must be a national priority. You are not alone! A new poll released just this week from our friends at First Focus clearly shows that the American people overwhelmingly reject cuts to federal children’s initiatives, and support investing in children.

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