December 27, 2012: First Focus, a Washington, D.C.-based, bipartisan advocacy nonprofit dedicated to making children and families a priority in federal policy and budget decisions, released its analysis just last week on how the "fiscal cliff" -- also known as "sequestration" -- would affect specifically affect children in the U.S. At left is the graph, breaking out the specific cuts, totalling $6.4 billion, that will impact American families -- particularly those who are already teetering on the edge of poverty and survival.
In a letter sent to Congress that accompanied the analysis, First Focus president Bruce Lesley wrote:
"...this is the worst possible time to cut initiatives that protect children..."
...Failing to extend the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), the report finds, will hit 6.5 million families with children with a $500/annual increase in taxes, and failing to extend the Child Tax Credit (CTC) will raise the tax liability by $800 for 12 million families with children. It would also deny the CTC to as many as 5.5 million children whose parents file federal tax returns with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number. Families affected by this provision earn an average of $21,000 per year. The federal poverty line for a family of four is just over $23,000.
[Proposals by House Republications] would also cut billions from federal initiatives that meet children’s basic needs:
- Repeals current law protecting children from state budget cuts that would undermine Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). These cuts could deny health insurance to more than 300,000 children.
- Cuts $36 billion from the Supplementation Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamps), which provides milk, vegetables, and other groceries to more than 20 million children. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that SNAP reduced the number of children in poverty by 1.7 million. Under H.R. 6684, 280,000 children receiving SNAP would also lose automatic eligibility for the National School Lunch Program.
- Eliminates the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG), which funds state efforts to meet critical needs for 11 million children. SSBG makes child care more affordable for the parents of 4 million children, funds child abuse prevention and response efforts that protect 1.7 million children, and finances foster care for 451,000 children victimized by abuse or neglect.
In addition, [the proposed]...$19 billion in cuts to federal fiscal year 2013 non-defense discretionary initiatives.. would maintain sequestration budget cuts [that would affect such programs as] child abuse and neglect prevention and response; education for children with disabilities; mental health services for troubled children; assistance for homeless children; nutrition for pregnant women, new mothers, and babies; and immunizations and community health centers.