U.S. Representatives George Miller (D-CA) and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) today released a report detailing the harsh impact of Republican budget cuts on children and families, including local examples of impacts in Contra Costa County.
Since Republicans took control of the House of Representatives in January 2011, programs such as Head Start, special education and mental health services have been slashed by billions of dollars, at a time when they are most needed. Government agencies forced to close October 1 as a result of the Republican Government Shutdown have only exacerbated the problem. Meanwhile, Republicans refused repeated offers to replace the across the board budget cuts, known as sequestration, with a balanced approach to deficit reduction that Democrats have offered.
The report can be viewed here.
"This report makes crystal clear, through hard numbers and personal stories from across the country, how children and families have shouldered the brunt of Republican budget cuts," Miller and DeLauro said. "Even before sequestration took effect, deficit reduction was taking place on the backs of poor and middle class Americans. This madness must stop. Congress needs to get America back to the business of helping the economy grow and enabling America's children and families to succeed, not mindlessly tearing down services that are critical to millions of people across the country."
Vital government services that keep Americans out of poverty, or help lift them out of it, have borne the brunt of budget cuts made in the name of deficit reduction. For example:
Grants for high-poverty schools were cut by $756 million in just 2013, despite the number of children living in poverty having grown by over five percent in the last decade.
More than five million fewer meals were served to low income seniors in 2013 due to sequestration. Nearly 15 percent of seniors face the threat of hunger.
More than 57,000 children have lost access to Head Start this year because of sequestration. There have also been significant service reductions, such as shorter hours of operation and fewer staff.
More than 67 percent of adults, and nearly 80 percent of children, do not receive needed mental health services. Still, substance abuse and mental health services programs are facing a 19 percent cut as a result of sequestration and other budget cuts made since 2010, once adjusted for inflation and population.
Miller is the senior Democrat on the Committee for Education and the Workforce. DeLauro is senior Democrat on the subcommittee responsible for funding labor, health and education programs.