NAEYC CHILDREN’S CHAMPIONS ALERT
May 16, 2012
ALERT: U.S. SENATE VOTES TODAY ON A BUDGET THAT WOULD SLASH CHILD CARE, HEAD START AND OTHER FUNDS
A two-minute call is all you need to do —
But you won’t be “heard” if you do not make the call. Find out how below.
Today, the United States Senate will take up several budget proposals, all of which would lead, if enacted, to large cuts in child care (assistance for families, money for child care program improvements), Head Start and Early Head Start, K-12 and higher education. They would also make drastic cuts to Food Stamps (now called SNAP) that would make it hard for many children and families to have basic nutrition assistance they need.
ACTION NEEDED NOW:
Call your U.S. Senators. It will take only a few minutes. When you call, the receptionist will ask for your position, your name and your city/town to verify that you are calling as a constituent.
MESSAGE TO LEAVE WITH SENATE OFFICE:
The receptionist will answer your call and take your message. Tell her/him that the Senator must VOTE NO on the proposals by Senators Toomey, Paul and Lee and any amendment or budget proposal that makes large cuts to domestic programs like child care, education and child nutrition. The deficit is not fixed by slashing programs that help families work and help children be healthy and able to learn. A fair budget takes into account the need to raise revenues and not rely solely on cutting basic services that help our economy in the short- and long-term.
HOW TO FIND YOUR SENATORS’ PHONE NUMBERS:
Each state has 2 Senators. Please call both. Using your home zip code, you can find your Senators and their phone numbers at: http://www.naeyc.org/policy/action
Late last week, the House of Representatives passed a harsh 2013 budget package that changes last year’s budget agreement by reducing the amount of cuts that Congress and the Administration agreed to last year for military spending. It also requires even more cuts to basic programs like child care, education and other needs that support low- and moderate-income families. The Senate is taking up different versions than the House today, but these proposals are just as dangerous due to their potential large cuts without really looking at fair ways to raise revenue. In fact, the plans raised on the Senate floor today will likely reduce the amount of taxes for the very wealthy while cuts are made for programs that help stabilize low- and moderate- income families.
In More Detail
Although the congressional budgeting and spending process can get complicated pretty quickly, here is a brief overview of how we got here. Last year, when Congress and the Administration failed to reach an agreement on a deficit reduction plan, they settled instead on the Budget Control Act. This agreement would make significant spending cuts, split between defense and domestic programs starting January 2013. Neither Democrats nor Republicans liked the solution and gave themselves 2012 to see if they would come to some other agreement. If not, across-the-board spending cuts would then go into effect. However, with 2012 also comes an opportunity to change the agreement and make it even worse. That’s what has been going on last week in the House and what has been attempted this week in the Senate.
The bill approved last week by the House is the Republican leadership’s version of an alternative plan. The bill would cancel the “sequestration” – automatic cuts over 10 years split between defense and non-defense discretionary programs. Instead, the House-passed new plan would reduce the cuts that the defense budget would need to make in order to shift those additional dollars to domestic programs, including Medicaid, SNAP (food stamps), child nutrition, and “discretionary funded” programs like Head Start, child care, education, etc. It would eliminate the Social Services Block Grant (established under President Reagan), which provides funds for a range of services, including child care.
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