WASHINGTON, DC, February 20, 2013 -It seems like it was only yesterday that the government was tittering on the verge of falling off another looming fiscal cliff. Ultimately, the government reached a temporary resolution to the deficit crisis. Congress decided to kick the can down the road once more and put off massive cuts, called a sequester, until March 1.
Well brothers and sisters, that date is around the corner and millions of families with children stand to be harmed if the Republicans and Democrats in Congress cannot come up with a plan for responding to the $1.2 trillion dollars in spending cuts scheduled to take effect through the next 10 years
During the budget crisis in 2011 when Congress couldn’t agree on a deficit reduction program, the Obama administration presented an alternative that included putting together a bipartisan supercommitee to come up with a reasonable plan. To force them to come together, the plan included sequestration, a process of automatic across-the-board cuts under which budgetary resources are permanently canceled to enforce budget policy goals if the two sides were unable to reach agreement.
That committee failed to come to a resolution on how to avoid draconian cuts. Of course it did. Washington is dysfunctional and broken. So here we are, facing yet another fiscal crisis and families are on the chopping block. Below is a listing of programs impacting children and families that stand to get the ax:
- Approximately 10,000 teacher jobs, 70,000 children in Head Start and 7,200 special education teachers, aides and staff are on the chopping block
- Up to 2,100 food inspector jobs risk being cut, which would put families at risk in lost food production given that outbreaks from foodborne illnesses put families and the public health at risk;
- Some 12,000 scientist and students who conduct research for critical diseases would see their jobs come to an end;
- Cuts to mental health could impact 373, 000 mentally ill adults and emotionally disturbed children who need treatment;
- Funds to Title I schools could impact 2,700 schools and close to 1.2 million underprivileged students
- About 600,000 women an dchildren may be dropped from WIC from March until September
- Close to 125, 000 families that receive rental assistance would see that come to an end
Notwithstanding, the most popular and well known low income programs are exempt from cuts under sequestration including: Child Nutrition Programs, the Children’s Health Insurance Fund , the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, Family Support Programs, Federal Pell Grants, Grants to States for Medicaid, Payments for Foster Care and Permanency , Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the Supplemental Security Income Program , Temporary Assistance for Needy Families , Social security beneficiaries, Military personnel salaries at the president’s discretion upon notification to Congress, the Veterans Administration, the Unemployment Trust Fund, Compensation of the President, Payment to Military Retirement Fund and Payments to Social Security Trust Fund, among several other programs.
American families also work for the federal government and could also see furloughs, lay offs and other impacts from the sequester.
Managers and department heads are readying their staffs. Airport travelers, visitors to National Parks and in various capacities, families will see the effect of the sequester when reduced staff impact their quality of lives.
Things have gotten quite serious, yet again.
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