Last week I had the pleasure of attending a free webinar presented by the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (NACCRRA) which is in the process of changing its name to Child Care Aware, America.
The webinar was about the federal budget process and how it specifically affects the child care industry. Grace Reef the Chief of Policy and Evaluation gave the webinar and explained, in an easy to understand way, how the federal budget process is directly affecting child care and what we might do to make a difference.
Prior to a brief overview of what she covered and then links to her powerpoint and the recording, I wanted to draw your attention to your role in making a difference.
Do you feel like your one call or email isn’t going to make a difference? I usually do too but then Ms. Reef explained what happens with our letters and phone calls. Our representative’s offices are required to log ALL of the calls/emails/letters about any given advocacy topic. The representative gets a digest of these correspondences for ALL of the different issues going on. The more messages (email/calls/letters) about our topic the better the chances are to be in the top three issues that the representative will pay attention to. So we have a goal! Let’s get our issues top billing as the first three on the representative's list! Our one phone call, email or letter does in fact make a difference! You can hear Ms. Reef explain this in the webinar recording.
Brief Bullets of what Ms. Reef covered and you can view on the recorded webinar.
- The August Debt Limit law, the automatic cuts of 1.2 trillion dollars (over the next 10 years) if there is no action taken or agreement made by congress and the house by January 2013. She explained how this works and what may or may not happen depending on the house and the congress agreeing on something different.
- President Obama’s budget proposes a $4 trillion deficit reduction over 10 years provides an alternative to across the board cuts and early education fares relatively well but there are over 200 programs cut in this proposal. The budget plan increases child care by $825 million and increases Head Start by about $84 million.
- Senator Ryan’s Budget was approved by the House in March. It has $19 billion more in cuts. Huge cuts in the domestic spending area including block grants for Food Stamps and Medicaid.
- The House and the Senate are not in sync as they should be according to congressional rules.
- Ms. Reef explains how the House is pushing through the Ryan Budget even though Congress has not come to a budget resolution with the House. The White House says no way, it will not sign off on the Ryan budget, however the House Agriculture committee and the House Ways and Means Committee are having to act now to decrease the deficit for these programs.
- This means that the House Agriculture Committee has approved legislation that cuts SNAP by over $33 billion over the next 10 years. 280 million children lose necessary meals.
- Also affected: the House Ways and Means Committee approved legislation that would cut $53 billion over the next 10 years which includes eliminating the Social Services Block Grant (Title XX). This affects state health care plans and the child tax credit.
- Cuts are looming in January and it seems as though there is a little game being played by the House and the Senate. They are not making progress at this time.
- Need increased revenue and people need to pay their fair share.
- In the absence of revenues cuts are deep
- What can you do? Be engaged, take action, what you do matters.