What does the President’s budget say about how we value children?Children of Immigrants Early Childhood Education Federal Budget Health Housing & Homelessness Nutrition Poverty & Family Economics Tax Policy
Yesterday, President Trump released a $4.8 trillion budget proposal that would impose massive cuts to critical programs that children and families rely on every day.
The proposal calls for $200 billion in cuts to programs that combat childhood poverty like SNAP and TANF, eliminated 29 programs from the Department of Education — including specific funding that helps homeless (McKinney-Vento Act) and low-income students (Title I), not to mention a $920 billion cut to Medicaid and CHIP which provide vital care that keep kids healthy.
“The budget is a moral document,” First Focus on Children president Bruce Lesley said in a statement yesterday. “Although we fully expect both Democrats and Republicans in Congress to reject these cuts as they have in the past, we are dismayed that the president places so little value on our nation’s children.”
The President’s budget — which Congressional leaders have already blasted as “devastating” and a “double-cross” — proposes a $1.5 trillion cut over 10 years to non-defense discretionary spending, which takes aim specifically at children. As we noted last year, 82% of all programs that benefit children fall into this category — from health to education to financial security to nutrition and others.
Last year, the President unsuccessfully tried to eliminate more than 40 children’s programs and make cuts to hundreds more. And while this budget proposal is once again unlikely to pass, it does speak to the Administration’s priorities. In recent weeks, we’ve seen efforts that put children in harm’s way by allowing states to arbitrarily cap Medicaid, unfairly target the children of immigrants, place undue burdens on the families of children with disabilities, not to mention a two-day hearing on a multitude of policies — on child poverty, housing, hunger, and health — being pursued by this Administration that would threaten children.
As Bruce Lesley noted in our annual Children’s Budget report last year, “Children are often an afterthought among federal policymakers in this process. Time and time again, children’s policy issues are ignored or neglected by Congress.” Our report found that the share of federal spending dedicated to children would have been just 6.45% if President Trump’s budget was enacted completely in FY20 — a $20 billion cut since FY 2015. And, for the first time in U.S. history, we are spending more to service the national debt than we are on the children who will inherit it.
If a budget documents our values and priorities — what does this year’s budget say about how we value children?