Policy Priorities

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Budget Watch: This Week...

April 6, 2011

House Budget Proposal for FY2012: An Assault on Children and Low Income Families

Yesterday, House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan released his proposed budget resolution for fiscal year 2012, proposing to cut nearly 6 trillion dollars from current spending levels.  Essentially all of the 10-year deficit reduction Ryan proposed comes from cuts to “non-security discretionary spending,” a funding stream that excludes defense and military spending, and must be authorized by Congress each year in order to pay for a wide variety of programs and services. Numerous programs serving children and low-income families could be in jeopardy like, Head Start, child care subsidies, child welfare programs,  community health centers, and job training programs.

The Ryan budget would:

  • Cut funding for the Medicaid program by more than $770 billion over 10 year, and dismantle protections for the more than 30 million children it currently serves;
  • Repeal the landmark health reform legislation that would bring health coverage to 32 million people in America (16 million of whom would have been covered by Medicaid), including more than 95% of all children;
  • Restrict access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance program (food stamps); and
  • Cut funding for Pell grants, threatening the 9.4 million low income college students who rely on them to attend college.

The proposal is an assault on children and low income families cutting lifelines and dismantling protections from cradle to college.  Under this budget plan the federal government would forsake its role as the engine of equality, and truly become the locomotive for inequality by cutting taxes on corporations rather than closing the loophole that allows them to dodge taxes by shifting profits overseas; further cutting taxes for the richest Americans; and repealing the estate tax increasing the deficit. 

To offset all these financial gifts to the rich, this House proposal would cut health care funding by more than 2 trillion dollars over 10 years – at a time when there are 50 million uninsured Americans including 8 million uninsured children. This proposal would not only threaten the uninsured by repealing health reform, it also threatens the health and future of millions of children, more than half children of color, currently being served by Medicaid.

The House Budget Committee is expected to reach the House floor for a vote early next week.. 

Meanwhile, negotiations on funding for the remainder of fiscal year 2011 continue between the House, Senate Leadership and the Administration.  Reports suggest agreement is still a long way off increasing the odds of a government shutdown this week.

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