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House Budget Reconciliation Package Deepens Children’s Cuts by Tens of Billions of Dollars
Press Release

May 8, 2012

Ed Walz
202-657-0685 (office)

Washington - A comprehensive analysis released today by First Focus finds that the 2013 budget reconciliation package scheduled for floor consideration in the U.S. House of Representatives Thursday would deepen cuts to investments in the country’s children by tens of billions of dollars. The package was cleared for the floor after a Monday vote in the House Committee on the Budget passed the measure 21-9 along party lines.

“When one in five U.S. kids live in poverty, it is not the time to slash investments in their healthcare, nutrition, economic stability, childcare, and safety,” said First Focus president Bruce Lesley.

The new analysis updates an earlier First Focus look at the House budget resolution. The resolution imposed “reconciliation instructions” on congressional committees with jurisdiction over critical investments in America’s children. The new analysis reflects measures of the reconciliation packages, expected to be voted on and approved later this week, including:

  • A House Committee on Energy and Commerce proposal that would eliminate a requirement in current law preventing state governments from making budget cuts that would leave children uninsured, threatening children’s health and reducing the effectiveness of Medicaid and the popular bipartisan Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). These cuts could potentially reach $113 billion.
  • A House Committee on Agriculture proposal that would cut $36 billion from the Supplementation Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which provides milk, vegetables, and other groceries to 20 million U.S. children. A proven tool to reduce poverty, SNAP was found by the Agriculture Department to have reduced 2009 poverty rates by 8 percent. 280,000 children receiving SNAP benefits would also lose automatic eligibility for the National School Lunch Program.
  • A House Committee on Ways and Means proposal that would deny the Child Tax Credit to 5.5 million children whose parents file federal tax returns with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). The CTC plays an important role in protecting kids from the worst effects of poverty and lifted 1.3 million kids out of poverty in 2009.
  • A House Committee on Ways and Means proposal that would eliminate the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG), 11 million children rely on for services. This includes4 million children receiving child care, 1.7 million children receiving protective services, and 451,000 children in foster care.
  • Lawmakers do not know the exact amount the cuts will affect children because neither the House Committee on the Budget nor the individual committees making reconciliation recommendations have asked for that analysis from the federal agencies responsible for administering each initiative.

The U.S. Senate is not expected to advance the House Budget legislation. It is also not expected the House and Senate will be able to come to an agreement prior to November elections, stalling the congressional appropriations process. Thus the votes cast this week in the House will define its official position and set the terms of the debate in November and December.

“This week’s House vote will shape the year-end appropriations debate, so it’s important lawmakers understand the implications of this budget on children. The American people should challenge lawmakers to understand how kids are affected before they vote,” said Lesley.

In addition to the reconciliation package, the House budget cuts additional billion in federal funding for critical children’s initiatives. These cuts include more than $190 billion to children’s health, $61 billion to children’s nutrition, and $4.2 billion in immediate cuts to children’s priorities like education and housing in the discretionary budget.

Download the First Focus analysis here.


First Focus is a bipartisan advocacy organization dedicated to making children and families a priority in federal policy and budget decisions. For more information, visit

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