Congress must also support investments in children

In response to President Biden’s release today of his FY 2024 budget proposal, First Focus on Children President Bruce Lesley issued the following statement:

“In his FY 2024 budget released today, President Biden commits to completing the nation’s unfinished business for children. We are pleased to see the Administration continuing the fight to fully restore the expanded Child Tax Credit that cut child poverty in half in 2021 and we will work with Congress to get it passed. The President’s plan would also offer families high-quality affordable child care and universal pre-school, provide free school meals to an additional 9 million children, increase funding for high-poverty schools, boost mental health care for our children and young people, and make many other significant investments in the well-being of our 74 million children.

We understand that some members of Congress consider the President’s budget merely a messaging document. But we urge Congress to — at the very least — meet the President’s commitment to children and resist the temptation to roll back the gains they have made.

Too many budget negotiations of the past have targeted children when the going gets tough. Congress already has begun peeling back the historic investments that not only got our children through the pandemic but increased their overall well-being for the first time in years. As outlined in our Children’s Budget 2022, the powerful investments of FY 2022 increased the share of federal spending on children to an historic 11.98% of the U.S. budget, producing remarkable declines in child poverty, hunger and the rate of children without health insurance. We cannot – must not – roll these back, just as our children are regaining their foothold in the world.

The budget and policy experts at First Focus on Children have begun analyzing the President’s proposal and will soon offer lawmakers details on how they also can support children. We hope they will make the best of this opportunity.” 

First Focus on Children is a bipartisan advocacy organization dedicated to making children and families a priority in federal policy and budget decisions.