House CR Needs Changes to Children’s Provisions Before Passage
WASHINGTON—Bruce Lesley, President of the First Focus Campaign for Children, reacted to today’s proposed House FY2018 Continuing Resolution (CR):
The Senate should modify this bill to make the Children’s Health Insurance Program’s (CHIP) extension permanent or, at the very least, to extend CHIP for 10 years. Doing so would simultaneously stabilize and protect the health coverage for 9 million children and pregnant women while cutting the federal budget deficit by $6 billion over 10 years and another $30 billion or more over the next decade.
CHIP funding expired 109 days ago and several states are on the verge of shutting down their programs. No other federal health insurance program undergoes constant extensions and reauthorizations like CHIP — not Medicare, Medicaid, the VA, DoD, or FEHBP. CHIP has a 20-year track record of success and successfully covers 9 million children. Congress should seize this opportunity to stabilize CHIP financing.
The Campaign for Children is also deeply concerned that the CR does not include funding for the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program, Community Health Centers, or the Parent to Parent Initiative. MIECHV supports effective home visiting services that help children and families improve their health, educational attainment and ability to work to support themselves. We urge Congress to renew this important program in the upcoming continuing resolution for five years at no less than its current funding of $400 million annually. It is time that we make this modest investment in the future success of children and families.
Finally, the CR put forth by the House Republicans woefully ignores a DACA fix for over 800,000 immigrants. Congress has had more than four months to come up with a solution to a problem created by President Trump’s decision to repeal DACA protections for nearly 1 million young people who know only the United States as their home. DACA recipients and their families, including 200,000 U.S. citizen children, are facing a great deal of uncertainty and fear, heightened by each passing day that a deal is not made. Congress must address DACA as soon as possible to end the needless trauma that has been inflicted on these hardworking immigrants and their families.