House Budget Cuts Would Harm America's Kids

The House of Representatives recently proposed a series of cuts to the budget for this year. Last week we told you about how they proposed $32 billion in cuts – including to the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant, the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program, community health centers, poison control centers, and other children’s programs.

This was not enough for some members of the House, particularly those who associate with the “Tea Party” movement. On Friday night, a day and time known by government officials as the best to release information that they know will get the least amount of media coverage, the Appropriations Committee offered an additional $42 billion in cuts.

These include:
•    Head Start – $1 billion (15%) cut
•    Community Health Centers – $1 billion cut
•    Community Services Block Grant – $341 million cut
•    Low Income Home Energy Assistance contingency fund – $390 million cut
•    Title I (K-12 education for low-income students) – $693.5 million cut
•    IDEA (special education) grants to states – $560 million cut
•    Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, & Children (WIC) – $747 million cut
•    21st Century Community Learning Centers (after school programs) – $100 million cut
•    Maternal and Child Health Block Grant – $50 million cut
•    Child Care Development Block Grant – $39 million cut

Many other children’s programs will be eliminated entirely. Some examples include:

•    Teen Pregnancy Prevention Grants
•    Mentoring Children of Prisoners
•    Even Start
•    Striving Readers
•    High School Graduation Initiative
•    Student Aid – for higher education
•    LEAP program (for low-income college students)
The House could include even more cuts as they debate this resolution.

These cuts are wrong on many levels. They harm children at a vulnerable time in their development. The economy remains in recession, and an all-time record number of children (14,567,000) currently live in poverty. Cuts like this would mean that 368,000 low income 3-and 4-year olds would lose the education and nutrition program they receive at their Head Start center. The education cuts, along with others being made in states, would leave thousands of teachers out of jobs this year. Many in Washington say these cuts are needed to reduce the deficit. However, these cuts would take only 2% off this year’s projected deficit. So essentially, these cuts harm children and don’t solve America’s fiscal challenges.