- Budget Debate Moves Forward in Senate and House
- U.S. Department of Education Releases Revised Guidance on Using Title I for Young Children from Birth
- ZERO TO THREE Provides Look at States on Range of Indicators
SENATE TAKING UP FEDERAL BUDGET – HOUSE MOVES FORWARD TO CUT PROGRAMS
Chairman Kent Conrad (D-MT) announced that he would ask the Senate Budget Committee to consider the long-term deficit reduction plan that was proposed by the leaders of the Simpson-Bowles Commission late last year but was not endorsed by the panel. That plan called for $5.4 trillion in deficit reduction over 10 years (including spending cuts), an overhaul of the tax code that would raise revenue, and changes to entitlement programs. Democratic leaders in the Senate have said they do not need a budget resolution because last year’s Budget Enforcement Act (debt deal) set an overall spending cap for fiscal year 2013.
By comparison, the House passed a budget resolution that put the cap on spending at $19 billion lower than the amount agreed by Congress and the President last summer in the Budget Enforcement Act. The House voted to consider the House-adopted budget resolution as the final budget resolution adopted by the House and Senate, meaning appropriations committees will be asked to craft next year’s budget on assumptions of less money. The House Ways and Means Committee approved three measures to cut spending, including a bill that would repeal the Social Services Block Grant, which helps provide critical services to 23 million children, seniors and disabled Americans. Among the programs funded by the Social Services Block Grant is child care and related assistance for 4.4 million children.
In a similar spending reduction move, the House Agriculture Committee voted to cut funding for SNAP/Food Stamps by $33 billion. This means that Food Stamp benefits would need to be reduced for 44 million and eliminated for 2 million individuals. If enacted, the changes to states’ SNAP categorical eligibility option would directly harm children, taking free school breakfast and lunch away from more than 280,000 low-income children while as many as 16 million children are already struggling with food insecurity across the nation. To read more about this, click here.
Meanwhile, work on the tax side of the budget continues on Capitol Hill. A Senate bill to enact the “Buffett Rule” – raising the taxes on individuals who earn more than a million a year – failed to pass the Senate. The federal budget consists of revenues raised and spending through tax expenditures (credits and deductions) as well as direct spending (such as Head Start, Title I, Pell Grants). Without raising revenues by raising rates or by eliminating or reducing tax credits and deductions, lowering the debt will fall on program cuts, primarily programs serving low-income families and children.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION REVISES GUIDANCE ON USING TITLE I FOR CHILDREN AS YOUNG AS BIRTH
Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Education issued revisions to the 2004 non-regulatory guidance on how Title I funds can be used with children and programs serving children from birth to school-age. Although we have not done a side-by-side comparison, it appears that this version puts more attention on 1) the ability of school systems to use Title I funds to collaborate with child care as well as Head Start programs, both for services for young children and for joint professional development; and 2) more resources from both the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on early childhood development and learning (as well as other resources, including NAEYC’s Developmentally Appropriate Practices materials). To read the guidance, click here.
ZERO TO THREE RELEASES NEW STATE BABY FACTS COMPARISON
ZERO TO THREE has released a new online resource to track key indicators (health, development, strong families, and positive early learning experiences) influencing the well-being of infants and toddlers in their own states and across the country. According to the State Baby Facts series, over 20% of children under age 3 are living in poverty and in the majority of states. To find out how your state compares, click here.
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