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

   
   
Vol. 24, Issue 13: 4/18/2011   
Headlines

Final Budget for FY11 Approved

President Obama Issues Proposal

House Passes Damaging 2012 Budget Resolution

These Cuts Won't Heal: Budget Webcast Today

Key Upcoming Dates for Congress



Final Budget for FY11 Approved

Last week, more than halfway into the fiscal year, Congress approved and the President signed legislation for the federal budget for the remainder of fiscal year 2011. The measure cuts almost $40 billion from the federal budget through the end of September. The impact on child welfare funding streams are expected to be small; however, major cuts are included for some poverty programs including Women, Infants, and Children Nutrition (WIC).

Updated information, including the President's proposal, a comparison to the plan put forward by Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI), and the impact on child welfare services, will be provided during the CWLA members-only These Cuts Won't Heal webinar today at 3 p.m. Eastern. More information on the webcast and a link to register is provided below.

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President Obama Issues Proposal

In a speech on Wednesday, April 13, President Barack Obama responded to the House budget proposal by expanding on his own budget that was released in February and explaining his deficit reduction strategy. The President aims to reduce the federal deficit by $4 trillion over the next decade or so through a combination of revenue enhancements, spending cuts to both discretionary and mandatory programs, and efficiency improvements in entitlement programs. In short, the President takes a much more holistic approach to deficit reduction than the House plan does.

The President's approach contrasts with the House's approach in several ways. First,
Obama would end the Bush-era income tax cuts and close a number of tax loopholes.
The House, on the other hand, would cut taxes by more than $4 trillion over the next decade and reduce the corporate and income tax top brackets to 25%. This is a critical difference because the less revenue the federal government brings in, the more programs will have to be cut in order to reduce the deficit. Secondly, President Obama does not dramatically restructure entitlement programs in his plan, while the House would convert Medicare into a voucher system and Medicaid into state block grants. Thirdly, the President is willing to cut both non-security and security discretionary spending, while the House has resisted cuts to security spending. Again, this is an important difference because to the extent that security spending can be reduced, there will be less need to cut non-security discretionary spending, including human services programs. Finally, the President hopes to build on passage of last year's health care reform law with further reforms to reduce the growth in health care costs, while the House plan would repeal the health care reform law which would eliminate the Medicaid expansion that will benefit up to 20 million people and the expansion of the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) that would provide coverage for 6 million additional children.

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House Passes Damaging 2012 Budget Resolution

Last Friday the House passed its version of the 2012 budget resolution by a 235 to 193 vote. As outlined in previous Monitor articles, the House budget would gut funding for non-security discretionary programs, replace Medicaid with state block grants and cut $771 billion from the program over the next decade, and make more harmful cuts to other programs like food stamps and housing programs. For more specifics on the 2012 House budget proposal, see the These Cuts Won't Heal page on CWLA's website; a host of documents provide details and a breakdown of what is at stake.

The House budget plan also proposes to eliminate funding for the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG), which is currently funded at $1.7 billion, in FY 2012. SSBG funds are used to assist states with providing social services to adults and children, including foster care, adoption, and residential treatment services. While states have substantial discretion in terms of how they use their SSBG funds, elimination of this funding would dramatically impact their ability to provide services to vulnerable children and families.

House passage of the plan represents the second major event in the 2012 budget process; the first was the release of President Obama's budget in February. The timetable on Senate action on the 2012 budget is undetermined. When it does begin crafting its own budget resolution, the Senate is expected to mirror President Obama's more comprehensive approach to deficit reduction by including revenue enhancements, cutting spending less drastically than the House, and resisting major cuts to entitlement programs like Medicaid, setting the stage for what will almost assuredly be another protracted budget battle reminiscent of the still fresh 2011 budget settlement.

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These Cuts Won't Heal: Budget Webcast Today

As part of the CWLA budget campaign, These Cuts Won't Heal, the Government Affairs Division is hosting a series of members-only webcasts. Registration is open for the next webcast, which will be today at 3 p.m. Eastern. Today's webinar will highlight President Obama's proposal and provide a comparison to the plan put forward by Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) which passed the House on Friday. There will also be a discussion of which members of Congress may be most in need of hearing from child welfare advocates.

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Key Upcoming Dates for Congress

- April 18 to 29: Spring recess.
- May 16 to 20: House recess.
- May 30 to June 3: Senate recess.

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