CHN urges Congress to reject Trump cuts that undermine children’s health program and break agreement to lift spending caps to meet needs
Editor’s note: Deborah Weinstein, Executive Director of the Coalition on Human Needs, issued the following statement Tuesday, May 8 in response to the Trump Administration’s rescissions package:
“The members of the Coalition on Human Needs urge Congress to reject the $15.4 billion rescissions package proposed by the Trump Administration. It includes cuts to the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) that would reduce the program’s capacity to respond if enrollment unexpectedly rises, which could occur in the aftermath of a natural disaster, large layoffs due to plant closures, or an overall economic slowdown. The rescissions package would renege on the two-year Bipartisan Budget Act agreement, which in part counted on the availability of unspent CHIP funds to pay for needed increases in other services of importance to children and families.
“The reason the Bipartisan Budget Act is so important is that many services needed by low-income people have been hit disproportionately hard since the imposition of budget caps and cannot meet current need. The Coalition on Human Needs tracks funding levels for many of those programs, and has found that while important progress was made in the FY 2018 omnibus legislation, nearly 70 percent of the programs tracked are still at lower levels than they were in FY 2010, adjusted for inflation. Overall, domestic and international appropriations dropped 5.4 percent since that year. But many human needs programs have suffered far deeper cuts. Job training programs, for example, have been cut close to 15 percent. Expanding these programs should be a high priority for those serious about helping people to get stable jobs with decent pay. The rescissions package will make it harder to rebuild such programs in FY 2019, breaking the agreement to begin to restore domestic funding.
“Many other services need rebuilding, such as home heating and cooling assistance (cut nearly 38 percent since FY 2010), juvenile justice programs (cut more than 40 percent), maternal and child health programs (cut 14 percent), and special education funding (cut between 7-11 percent since FY 2010). Advancing the important progress begun this year requires living up to the Bipartisan Budget Act agreement, which assumes the use of funds that would be eliminated if the rescissions are approved.
“The rescissions package also includes an $800 million cut to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, a program which, according to the Congressional Budget Office will save $3 for every $1 spent between 2017 and 2026. It makes no sense to end such a cost-effective investment. Nor does it make sense to describe this package of cuts as putting “…our Nation on a sustainable fiscal path” after signing a nearly $2 trillion package of tax give-aways to the wealthy and corporations.
“Congress needs to turn its attention to the timely completion of FY 2019 appropriations. This rescissions package, and the reports that more may be proposed in the future, are a distraction from Congress’ real responsibility: to provide adequate resources to meet the basic needs for education, child care, housing, health care, and other services.”
To see the Coalition on Human Needs’ analysis of spending trends for more than 180 human needs programs – Progress for Many Human Needs Programs in FY 2018 – But More Than Two-Thirds are Still Below FY 2010 Levels – click here.
Click here for a PDF of this statement.