What Congress can learn from Dr. Seuss
Madeline Daniels (Former Staff), First Focus Campaign for ChildrenChild Rights Children of Immigrants Housing & Homelessness
“Never budge! That’s my rule. Never budge in the least! Not an inch to the west! Not an inch to the east! I’ll stay here, not budging! I can and I will! If it makes you and me and the whole world stand still!” – The Zax by Dr. Seuss
Over 8 million children will be born during this Congressional term. And there are a sweeping range of issues before Congress that will fundamentally impact the lives of these kids.
Unfortunately, our country’s leaders seem more interested in playing politics than governing. And much like Dr. Seuss’ stubborn Zax who found each other face to face refusing to budge, neither party is stepping aside to pass important legislation for kids.
The bipartisan Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015 is being debated today on the floor of the U.S. Senate. This critical bill, introduced by Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas), fights human trafficking and child sex trafficking with more support for victims, an increase in enforcement resources and prevention, and stiffer penalties.
The Victims of Trafficking Act is a good bill. It will protect children who are victims of sex trafficking, or at risk of sex trafficking. This bill, simply, should pass.
Should pass. But Republicans and Democrats are in a knock-down, drag-out fight over partisan additions and amendments that are preventing this important, bipartisan legislation from coming to a vote. And some of the amendments are really, really bad. Like Senator David Vitter’s (R-Louisiana) amendment to deny U.S. citizenship to some babies born in the United States. This unconstitutional proposal would leave many kids stateless, because denying babies U.S. citizenship in no way confers upon them citizenship in the country of their parents’ origin.
You can read this fact sheet from our partners at First Focus about preserving birthright citizenship here.
Denial of birthright citizenship in @DavidVitter‘s amndmnt impacts all Americans. Our fact sheet: http://t.co/IFwqKYqZWT #TheyAreChildren
— First Focus (@First_Focus) March 11, 2015
Of course, not all amendments are bad and partisan. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) has introduced an amendment to fix the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s definition of homelessness that excludes most of our country’s 1.3 million homeless students. Homeless children and youth are at high risk of being sexually trafficked, and the amendment would get them the help them need. This policy has broad bipartisan support.
Take action to support Senator Portman’s amendment.
Standing in the way of strong bipartisan policies that invest in children is becoming old hat for Congress. As we wrote in Huffington Post this week, Congress’ inability to compromise is threatening the future of the popular Children’s Health Insurance Program that provides coverage for over 8 million kids. And even though there is strong bipartisan support for the Maternal, Infant and Earl Childhood Visiting Program for home visiting, it is just days away from losing its funding due to Congressional inaction.
The Zax never learn their lesson, and indeed never budged. But the “world grew. In a couple of years, the new highway came through.” The Zax were forgotten, and life went on without them.
Unfortunately, our children’s future can’t bypass Congress. But someone has to pay the price. So when the world goes on despite Congressional inaction, it’s our children who will lose out.
“If it makes you and me and the whole world stand still!” Congress, quit the politics: http://t.co/LaQAySsSGf#TheZaxpic.twitter.com/BR2MCWsKV9
— CampaignForChildren (@Campaign4Kids) March 11, 2015
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