Representatives Forget That Children Did Not Cause The Deficit

Every Child Matters in Iowa is asking Senators Tom Harkin and Charles Grassley to reject the deep cuts in programs for children, youth and families the House adopted last week. The House measure cuts $61 billion nationwide in this fiscal year ending September 30, 2011. Hundreds of millions in health, education, and safety programs could be cut in Iowa if the Senate goes along with the House. Every Child Matters urges the Senate to fund children’s programs at their current levels for the rest of the year. Already faced with a severe state budget deficit, the situation in Iowa will be made much worse if Congress adopts the House budget. Among scores of federally funded programs to be cut in Iowa:

  • 1,794 young children will be removed from their Head Start program
  • Special needs children would lose $5 million in education programs serving them
  • Iowa’s college students would face a 15% cut in their Pell Grants, totaling $809 million, causing many to leave college
  • Pregnant women would be denied health care through the Maternal and Child Health block grant
  • Iowa’s poison control center would likely close
  • Programs to help children, youth, and parents struggling with substance abuse and mental health issues would be slashed by $1 million
  • Doors to 21st Century Community Learning Centers would close to hundred of Iowa children and youth

Tom LaPointe, director of Every Child Matters in Iowa, states, “We all recognize the need to shrink the size of the federal deficit—and a combination of thoughtful reductions in spending and new tax revenues can achieve this goal. But cutting smart policies and proven programs that benefit Iowa kids just doesn’t make sense. For us to remain competitive in a global economy we need to invest in our children and give them the skills they need. Recent television ads in Iowa showing future generations of children pulling a ball and chain as if they are saddled with federal debt are grossly misleading. The U.S. is a rich country with a budget deficit. It can bring the deficit down without sacrificing the future of our kids. Furthermore, it’s worth noting that these program cuts do little to reduce the deficit in 2011, but they will cause the national debt to rise long term.”

LaPointe said that in addition to urging Sens. Harkin and Grassley to reject the House budget, ECM will be thanking Reps. Braley, Boswell, and Loebsack for their votes against the measure, and will be asking to meet with Reps. King and Latham to explain how these cuts will harm their smallest constituents.  Contact Tom LaPointe, Director of Every Child Matters in Iowa at (202) 230-3658.