Debt deal's impact on kids | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Debt deal's impact on kids

Posted By on Wed, Aug 3, 2011 at 2:27 PM

I meant to post this yesterday but got a little side-tracked. Rich Huddleston of Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families weighs in on the debt ceiling deal and the affect it's likely to have on middle to low-income families and kids. Before Rep. Nate Bell accuses anyone of being Hitlerian, Huddleston's comments didn't just focus on children and families, but the economy as a whole and the likelihood, or lack thereof, that future talks about the debt will be based on good-natured collaboration or petty politics.

Under the agreement, nearly $1.2 trillion in cuts will have to be made to discretionary (non-entitlement) programs-especially in education-during the next 10 years. While some critical programs for low income children-such as Medicaid, CHIP (Children's Health Insurance Program) and SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance)-are protected during the initial round of budget cuts, the long-term funding for these and other essential programs serving vulnerable children remains in doubt. The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction will include 12 members of Congress-half from each party and half from each chamber. It must make an additional $1.5 trillion in cuts during the next decade. While tough budgeting sometimes requires tough choices, this agreement reduces spending on essential programs for children and hurts our ability to ensure all children have the resources and opportunities to lead healthy and productive lives and realize their full potential.

Under the agreement, the only way to avoid draconian, across-the-board cuts that will decimate programs serving children and families is to see a serious compromise among the members of the committee. That scenario is unlikely in the current political environment. As we recently saw, there are too many people in Washington who refuse to compromise. Speaker Boehner has already announced that he will not appoint anyone to the committee who considers including closing tax loopholes for corporations and billionaires as a way to reduce the deficit.

Follow the link above for Huddleston's complete statement.

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