Congress leaves this week for a long recess until mid November, when a lot of critical budget decisions will face them. On the good news front, both the House and Senate leadership agreed to avoid a government shutdown and are passing this week a Continuing Resolution that will continue program funds at roughly current levels through March 27, 2013.
When Congress returns after the November elections, it will have very little time to resolve very significant budget decisions. For example, it must decide if all or some of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts will expire on January 1, 2013 or be extended. Congress must decide if they will make changes to the sequestration – automatic, across-the-board spending cuts that are scheduled to kick in on January 2, 2013 – unless Congress takes measures to stop it. According to an agreement reached last year, the $1.2 trillion in cuts would be divided equally between defense and domestic discretionary programs. If Congress doesn’t change the sequestration agreement, then in the first year of sequestration: the Child Care & Development Block Grant would be cut by $187 million in one year, with roughly 80,000 children losing child care assistance; WIC would be cut by $543 million; and approximately 100,000 children would lose Head Start or Early Head Start services.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR YOU AND WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Click here to email your members of Congress and tell them that we need an economically sound budget, a fair budget that looks at both program spending and tax spending together.
Children and families rely on these federal funds for child care assistance, Head Start and Early Head Start, early intervention and special education, and K-12 education as well as some health care and nutrition services. Early childhood providers rely on federal funds for higher education grants and loans, for training costs, and as a source of income for programs to remain open. Roughly 75% of public funds spent on birth-to-five early childhood education come from federal sources and are passed either to states, communities or to providers. Act now to voice your option!