April 15, 2011
WASHINGTON D.C. – Today, Representative Danny Davis (D-IL) introduced legislation that would provide an annual accounting of all federal money spent on children.
The Children's Budget Act aims to make children a priority in the federal budget by requiring that the President's annual budget request includes a separate analysis of all spending on children's programs. This accounting would collect the diverse sources of funding for children's programs, in a unified place, communicating a clear picture of the federal funding benefiting America's young people.
"We commend Representative Davis for introducing this important legislation," said Bruce Lesley, President of the First Focus Campaign for Children. “Investing in programs that protect the health and well-being of children today will pay huge dividends down the road. Unfortunately, all too often spending proposals make children an afterthought in the federal budget rather than a focus. And as a result, children are becoming the beneficiaries of an ever narrowing slice of federal spending. The Children's Budget Act is a simple, inexpensive action that will bring awareness to the federal investment in children, as well as hold our nation's leaders accountable for ensuring that children remain a national priority."
“As policy makers, we have the ability and responsibility to provide a strong foundation for our youngest citizens to grow into the achievers and leaders of tomorrow,” said Representative Davis. “If children are a national priority, we need to measure our federal spending so that we can understand if our choices disproportionately harm or protect our children. The Children’s Budget Act would ensure that children are given due consideration whenever the budget is discussed and would provide policymakers, program administrators, and parents with a clear picture of the overall federal investment in our children. Careful analysis of our spending today helps us improve our efforts for tomorrow.”
Currently, the law that governs the requirements for the President's annual budget request includes dozens of specific instructions, such as a mandate that requires an analysis of all spending on homeland security. Requiring that an analysis of spending on children be submitted as part of the President's larger budget request would be a simple addition to the law.
For the past three years, First Focus has released an annual Children’s Budget book, a comprehensive analysis of federal spending on children over the past five years, and a publication with an intent similar to that of the Children's Budget Act. The latest edition of the book, Children’s Budget 2010, found that after accounting for federal spending on kids, less than one dime of every new, non-defense dollar spent by the federal government has gone to children and children’s programs.
Lesley added, "Children make up one-quarter of our population, but they are all of our future. Meeting their needs requires that we take stock in our efforts. Doing better for our children tomorrow starts with knowing how we're doing today."
• Click here to review a fact sheet about the Children’s Budget Act.