State Groups Organize Against Cuts
Efforts in Congress to reach agreement on final spending for 2011 continue to drag on. Last week the Senate rejected both the long-term House continuing resolution (H.R. 1) and the Senate alternative that would have boosted funding for Head Start/Early Head Start and child care.
Talks are ongoing to agree on a final spending bill for the rest of FY 2011, but are not expected to conclude before current funding expires on Friday, March 18.
The House is preparing to vote on yet another stop-gap bill with $6 billion in cuts to keep the government operating for 3 more weeks. Like the current funding measure, this one would continue the House method of slicing federal discretionary funding by $2 billion per week. The bill focuses on programs not addressed in the current funding bill, proposing to reduce funds available for juvenile justice and prevention activities by $276 million. This funding extension most likely will pass both the House and the Senate.
On March 9, the Children’s Leadership Council (CLC), chaired by ZERO TO THREE Executive Director Matthew Melmed, held a press conference to tell the White House and Congress how deeply the proposed cuts in H.R. 1 would hurt children, youth, and families. This event began a campaign to support adequate funding for programs that benefit this group. More information is available at childrensleadershipcouncil.org.
Now is the time to join with others in your state and participate in events at the state-level that will show Congress just how many constituents oppose these cuts. The next Congressional recess begins the week of March 21, which gives advocates a prime opportunity to take action to underscore the importance of protecting funding for Head Start, Early Head Start, child care and a host of other programs affecting young children and families. Children’s organizations in many states will be planning events and meetings with Senators and Representatives to highlight the very real damage that will be inflicted on children and families with many of the proposed cuts.
Senators and Representatives not only need to hear from people in their states, they need to see that people care enough to turn out in support for children and families. We urge infant-toddler advocates to join these efforts. The CLC is providing small grants to organizations in 15 states (AK, AZ, CA, FL, MI, MS, MO, MT, NV, NM, OH, PA, TX, VA and WI)to organize events for the week of March 21st. Whether you are in one of these states or not, we ask you to check with your state’s child advocacy organization to find out how you can get involved. In future posts, we will pass on links to information about specific state efforts, as well as materials and templates that you can use for your own advocacy.
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