|February 4, 2008
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WASHINGTON, DC — The Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) today blasted President Bush’s FY09 budget request, calling it yet another irresponsible proposal that would ignore the needs of millions of vulnerable children and families. CDF criticized the President’s proposal for deep cuts in funding for programs that serve our nation’s children, including programs in health, mental health and substance abuse, social services, and home energy assistance for low-income families.
“The Bush Administration continues to wage a budget war against children, even as the economy weakens,” CDF President Marian Wright Edelman said. “Even with a budget that for the first time tops $3 trillion, the President has still managed to further cut funding for vital programs for children and low-income families. CDF is counting on Congress to put children first in its budget. In the richest nation on earth it is unacceptable for millions of children to suffer from poverty and hunger, lack of health coverage, low-quality education, and a juvenile justice system that each year puts thousands of youth at risk of being funneled down a pipeline to prison.”
The President continues to press to make permanent his tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and for higher spending on the military while nearly 13 million children live in poverty and 9.4 million children are without health coverage.
Even if the Bush Administration tax cuts expire as scheduled, they will cost at least $2 trillion in lost revenue; the revenue loss will be much more if some or all of these tax cuts are extended. The tax cut to just the top 1 percent of taxpayers represents $76 billion in lost revenue this year alone—an amount sufficient to provide all children and pregnant women with access to comprehensive health coverage, lift every poor child in America out of poverty, and still leave billions for other critical programs.
As Congress reviews the President’s proposal, CDF urges Members to give high priority within the FY09 budget to:
- Ending child poverty.
- Ensuring every child and pregnant woman has access to affordable, seamless, comprehensive health and mental health coverage and services.
- Providing high-quality early childhood development programs for all children.
- Ensuring every child can read at grade level by fourth grade and guaranteeing quality education through high school graduation.
- Protecting children from abuse and neglect and connecting them to caring and permanent families.
- Shifting the response to juvenile offenders from punishment and incarceration to prevention and early intervention.
For more information about the Children’s Defense Fund, visit www.childrensdefense.org.