Washington — The First Focus Campaign for Children, a bipartisan children’s advocacy organization, today commended the White House and Congress for delivering a federal “fiscal cliff” agreement that protects key investments in America’s children.

“With sky-high stakes for children, failure wasn’t an option – and President Obama, Vice President Biden, Minority Leader McConnell, Majority Leader Reid, Speaker Boehner, and Leader Pelosi delivered for kids,” said Campaign for Children President Bruce Lesley.

Failure to meet the year-end deadline would have resulted in automatic repeal of improvements to the Child Tax Credit (CTC) and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), as well as billions in budget cuts to education, nutrition, and other children’s initiatives. The deal negotiated by the White House and congressional leadership did not include proposals passed earlier by the House of Representatives to remedy the fiscal cliff by imposing other, even more expansive, cuts to children’s health, family tax credits, and nutrition. But the package passed Tuesday simply postpones the automatic “sequestration” budget cuts until March 1, 2013, requiring another round of negotiations with children’s initiatives on the chopping block.

“Republicans and Democrats have two months to reach a long-term budget solution that protects our future by maintaining investments that lift children out of poverty, protect them from hunger, disease, and abuse, and create opportunities for success in school and life,” said Lesley.

The American Taxpayer Relief Act (H.R. 8), which is expected to be enacted by President Obama today, included several major wins for children:

  • Protects for five years improvements to the CTC and the EITC – which together lift more than five million children out of poverty – as well as other family tax policies;
  • Maintains the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamps), which provides food for more than 20 million children; and
  • Extends “Express Lane Eligibility” policy, reducing paperwork burdens for parents seeking coverage for their uninsured children through Medicaid or CHIP.

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