Policy Priorities

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February 22, 2013

One Week Before Disastrous Cuts to Children

With just over a week to go until the across-the-board cuts to defense and domestic discretionary spending (“the sequester”) are scheduled to go into effect, little progress is being made on Capitol Hill to come to an agreement to “turn them off.” When Congress returns to Washington next week, there will be only four legislative days left to negotiate a solution to avert the otherwise mandatory spending cuts, which would result in $85 billion in reductions starting March 1st.

On Tuesday, President Obama pressed Congress for a temporary fix to these cuts. Senate Democrats have proposed an alternative which would repeal tax loopholes for oil companies, eliminate some farm-industry subsidies, and impose a new minimum tax rate on those who make more than $1 million annually (“The Buffet Rule”). However, Congressional Republicans have indicated they will not support the package because it includes new revenues. Congressional leadership aides from both parties have indicated that they currently see no signs behind the scenes that there is a bipartisan effort underway to avert the disastrous cuts.

If Congress cannot come to an agreement as to how to replace the sequester, it will go into effect on March 1st resulting in damaging cuts for children and families. For instance, 600,000 babies, toddlers and mothers will lose WIC nutrition assistance, and up to 70,000 children will lose Early Head Start and Head Start. These cuts are aimed at the very children most at-risk and most in need of intervention to be able to thrive and strive. To add insult to injury, more than 14,000 Early Head Start and Head Start teachers and staff would lose their jobs.

We’ll be watching closely in the coming days and urge you to continue to tell your Members of Congress to “Be Careful What You Cut!”

Click here to view past Budget Watch updates.