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LEGISLATIVE ALERT

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December 19, 2005

Last Chance to Reject Foster Care Cuts; Calls Needed to Your U.S. Senators!

House Approves Final Budget --- Includes $343 Million in Foster Care Cuts

CALL YOUR SENATORS TODAY

House and Senate leaders in Congress have finalized agreement on a budget reconciliation bill that cuts overall federal spending by $40 billion over 5 years. Although early reports suggested that the final agreement left out most cuts hurting low-income people that were initially proposed by the House, this is NOT the case. Many harmful cuts remain in the agreement, including millions in cuts in federal support for foster care that result in many grandparents and other relatives currently caring for abused and neglected children no longer receiving federal supports.

The House of Representatives approved the final budget reconciliation bill early this morning after an all night session by a vote of 212 to 206. Members had virtually no time to fully examine the 774 page bill. See how your member of Congress voted.

The Senate is now our last chance. The Senate is expected to take up the agreement sometime today or tomorrow (Monday or Tuesday.) Your calls to your Senators are urgently needed. Many of the provisions in the final budget agreement are substantially worse than the bill the Senate initially approved on November 3.

While calls to all Senators are very important, it is urgently important that the following Senators hear from their constituents: Chafee (RI), Coleman (MN), Collins (ME), DeWine (OH), Voinovich (OH), Landrieu (LA), Nelson (NE), Smith (OR), Snowe (ME), Specter (PA). These members are crucial swing votes and hold the determining votes.

CALL NOW:

Please use the toll-free number: 800-426-8073 or by calling the U.S. Capitol switchboard at 202-225-3121.

Ask to be connected to your Senators, and tell them:

MESSAGE:

Vote NO on the budget reconciliation conference report (S. 1932). It cuts foster care funding by $343 million. Grandparents and other relatives caring for abused and neglected children will be denied needed support.

Background:
In addition to the foster care cuts, the final budget agreement also includes:
  • Changes to Medicaid that decrease the level of services for many low income individuals and families and impose new costs for those who can least afford health care.

  • Reauthorization of the TANF and Child Care programs. The provisions included in the final bill, such as those to increase work requirements, are punitive to families receiving TANF assistance and fails to recognize the great need for additional child care funding.

  • Reduced federal support for child support enforcement collections that will result in $2.9 billion in child support going uncollected over the next five years, and $8.4 billion going uncollected over the next ten years.

  • $12.7 billion in cuts to student loan supports.
Thank you for your continued advocacy. For more information, including other background and analysis, visit CWLA's No Caps on Kids! Campaign website or contact Liz Meitner, CWLA Vice President of Government Affairs, at emeitner@cwla.org or 202-942-0257.


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