The Lame Duck 114th Congress passed a Continuing Resolution to keep the government running through April 28, when the new Congress will have to pass another appropriations measure for the rest of FY 2017.
The short-term funding bill includes a 0.19% across-the-board cut, which is compounded by the fact that the FY16 budget was the lowest in a decade when adjusted for inflation—meaning that this latest CR represents a significant effective decrease, according to the Center for Law and Social Policy.
The decreased funding level will hurt programs for children, youth and families, CLASP said. For example:
- Reducing current child care funding, which is already sharply inadequate, leaves states without the resources necessary to implement the critical improvements passed by Congress in 2014 to improve the health, safety, and quality of child care and to provide low-income working families with more stable child care assistance. Already, the number of children receiving child care funded through the federal Child Care and Development Block Grant program has fallen to a 16-year low, with just 1.4 million children being served in 2014, and more will surely lose access without new funding.
- Current funding for key youth employment and training is more than 3% percent lower than authorized levels for next year. This would continue a decline in funding for these programs of more than 30% in real terms over the past 15 years.
- Communities of color have been hit especially hard by federal disinvestment in key programs such as child care, workforce training, and Head Start. Youth of color, particularly out of school youth, simply don’t have the resources they need to succeed, and young children cannot get the start they need and deserve without help. With children of color soon to be half of all children—and already half of children under five—their success matters deeply to America’s future, CLASP said.
Statements of congressional GOP leaders suggest that the spring’s budget will continue and accelerate this trend – huge tax cuts for the richest Americans and an erosion of the public safety net. For example, the House Republican FY 2017 budget proposal, which was not passed, threatened low-income Americans with the most severe budget cuts in modern history. Overall, the plan proposed getting 62% of its budget cuts from low-income programs even though they account for just 28% of total non-defense program spending. It would have also turned SNAP/food stamps into a block grant, estimated to cut well over $100 billion.