Children's Monitor Online
A Public Policy Update from the Child Welfare League of America

   
   
Vol. 24, Issue 6: 2/22/2011   
Headlines

House Passes 2011 Budget Plan Cutting More Than $100 Billion

President Obama Releases FY 2012 Budget

House Budget for 2011 Includes Defunding Health Care Law

CWLA Announces Campaign Strategy Webinar Series

Key Upcoming Dates for Congress



House Passes 2011 Budget Plan Cutting More Than $100 Billion

After spending the week plodding through hundreds of amendments, the House finally finished its version of the fiscal year 2011 continuing resolution (CR) late last week and sent it over to the Senate. Senate leaders have pronounced the bill dead on arrival, and have vowed to put together their own legislation. Meanwhile, President Barack Obama has said that he will veto the House plan.

Republican leaders brought to the floor last Tuesday a massive 359-page bill that cut more than $100 billion from Obama's proposed 2011 budget. The funding cuts in the bill fall heavily on the domestic, non-security side and include many important programs serving vulnerable children and families. Head Start, nutrition assistance for low-income women and children, maternal and child health, substance abuse and mental health, family planning, child care, juvenile justice, and afterschool programs were all subjected to severe cuts. Furthermore, during the amendment process, the House added language defunding the Obama Administration's efforts to implement and enforce the new health care law and prohibiting Planned Parenthood and its affiliates from receiving any federal funding.

Both the House and Senate will be gone this week observing the President's Day recess. When the two chambers reconvene, they will have just five working days before the current CR funding the government expires on March 4. It is almost certain that the two chambers will be unable to work out a year-long resolution to the impasse in that time, meaning that another short-term CR will likely have to be passed. Even on this question though, there is much uncertainty as House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has said that the House will not pass any short-term extensions that do not include funding cuts while the Senate has thus far resisted this idea. If the two chambers cannot compromise on a short-term extension by March 4, the government would temporarily shut down.

Back to Headlines

President Obama Releases FY 2012 Budget

Amidst all of the drama surrounding the 2011 budget, President Obama released his blueprint for fiscal year 2012 last week. The President's budget includes a five-year freeze in discretionary funding levels, meaning most programs received no funding increases. There were a few notable exceptions, however, including a $1.3 billion increase in child care, a $865 million increase for Head Start, and $100 million more for afterschool programs. Importantly, the President's budget also includes $250 million per year set aside for efforts to reform the child welfare financing system by creating financial incentives to enhance permanency, reduce abuse and neglect, and improve the well-being of vulnerable children. Unfortunately, President Obama also suggested cuts to some important programs, including substance abuse, mental health, and juvenile justice. These cuts were not on the scale of those proposed by the House, however.

The release of the President's budget officially kicks off the FY 2012 budget process, even while Congress and the President continue to tussle over the 2011 budget. The next step in the FY 2012 process will be for Congress to hold hearings on the President's proposal and then put together their own plans. Hearings should begin in the next few weeks and the House is planning to introduce their budget proposal by April. The Senate timetable is less clear, although it could follow a similar path.

For more information on specific programs or funding levels in the President's budget, please see the budget chart CWLA has put together for members, available on the members-only website. In addition, the Government Affairs team did a comprehensive rundown about the FY 2011 budget process and the President's FY 2012 budget proposal during last week's webinar. If you are a member and were unable to participate, the webinar presentation can be accessed at the same webpage.

Back to Headlines

House Budget for 2011 Includes Defunding Health Care Law

On Friday the House voted to block funding for the health care law via a number of amendments. Representative Denny Rehberg's (R-MT) amendment, which directly targeted the Department of Health and Human Services, would ban all payments to "any employee, officer, contractor, or grantee of any department or agency" to implement the law, passed by a vote of 239-187. This amendment paved the way for passage of Rep. Steve King's (R-IA) amendment to deny any implementation funds in the continuing resolution and block salaries to enforce the entire law. The House also approved another measure by Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO) to block funding for the Internal Revenue Service to enforce the individual mandate, which although not effective until 2014, remains a largely unpopular provision by members of both parties.

While none of the above-mentioned amendments would completely "defund" the Affordable Care Act (one of the number one goals of many incoming freshman House members), the amendments make a bold statement about the determination of the Republican caucus to hold steadfast to a campaign promise. Thankfully, for those concerned about ensuring the health and well-being of our nation's most vulnerable, most of the funding is already appropriated under the ACA and therefore out of the reach of the spending bill.

These amendments add significantly to the tension between the Republican-led House and the Democrat-led Senate in regards to the new health care law. Furthermore, none of these amendments are likely to be enacted. At the same time many opponents of the law continue to argue it may be unconstitutional and use legal challenges as rationale for their attempts to slow down the implementation process.

Back to Headlines

CWLA Announces Campaign Strategy Webinar Series

As part of the CWLA budget campaign, These Cuts Won't Heal, the Government Affairs Division will host a series of members-only webinars. Registration is open for the first webinar, which will be next Monday, February 28, at 3 p.m. Eastern. The webinars will provide the latest updates on the federal budget debate, highlight upcoming votes, and discuss which members of Congress may be most in need to hearing from child welfare advocates.

Back to Headlines

Key Upcoming Dates for Congress

- February 28: Congress returns from President's Day recess.
- March 4: Continuing resolution on fiscal year 2011 expires.
- March 29: CWLA Advocacy Day during the National Conference.

Back to Headlines

Click here to see the list of previous issues

If you know of others who would like their names added to this list, please have them visit www.cwla.org/advocacy/monitoronline-optin.htm. To remove yourself from this list, send an e-mail to monitor@cwla.org with "Remove from Monitor Online List" in the subject line.

© Child Welfare League of America. The content of this publication may not be reproduced in any way, including posting on the Internet, without the permission of CWLA. For permission to use material from CWLA's website or publications, contact us using our website assistance form.