Bipartisan Senate Funding Agreement Invests in Children
As we near the eleventh hour of the current continuing resolution to fund the government, the bipartisan progress on a budget deal steers us away from months of uncertainty, multiple continuing resolutions, and a looming debt ceiling, all of which leave children and families hanging in the balance.
“The emerging proposal paves the way for Congress to continue to work across the aisle to address the pressing needs of children and families, which ought to transcend partisan division,” said Bruce Lesley, president of First Focus Campaign for Children. “We applaud Senate leadership for pulling together this important bipartisan agreement to make critically needed investments in our nation’s children and youth.”
In particular, this deal raises the budget caps established in the Budget Control Act of 2011 and increases defense and non-defense discretionary spending with parity. This crucial decision will provide relief from forced cuts that have put downward pressure on federal spending on children.
The Senate agreement also acknowledges the families and children who have been left waiting for the reauthorization of vital programs by extending the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for a full 10 years, the the Maternal, Infant and Early Care Home Visiting (MIECHV) program for five years, and Community Health Center funding for two years. We further applaud the deal’s inclusion of important child welfare legislation in the form of the Families First Prevention Services Act.
The budget deal also commits to several budgetary priorities that will benefit children, including crucial investments in child care for low-income families, provides critical funding for the 2020 Decennial Census, additional funds to combat the opioid substance abuse epidemic, and critical relief for the health, education, and nutrition needs of children in all of the areas recovering from natural disasters.
Furthermore, the agreement recognizes that our current budget process has become unsustainable and rightly highlights the need for reform. Such budget reform offers lawmakers an excellent opportunity to elevate the needs of children and families, and the role that a predictable, transparent budget process plays in their well-being.
“This deal marks a major step forward in the fight to help make children and families the priority in federal policy decisions,” Lesley adds. “In that vein, our support for the Senate budget package must be followed up with a permanent solution for hundreds of thousands of immigrant youth who know only the United States as their home without ceding to the White House’s extreme demands.”