While the nation is watching the Senate take up proposals designed to dismantle health care for children, the elderly and disabled, and low-income families, the House Budget Committee finalized its vision for the country last week. Though details have yet to be released, the plan paints a gloomy future for Nebraska’s most vulnerable children and youth. The Chair of the committee promised that the budget would save the country “for our children and grandchildren,” when in fact, the budget framework breaks this promise by slashing trillions from programs for the neediest to serve the wealthiest among us. The proposed cuts are unprecedented and alarmingly short-sighted.
- More children will be unable to access critical preventive and life-saving care with a $1.5 trillion cut from Medicaid—an even larger cut than the House bill to repeal the ACA. Such a cut would seriously compromise health care for many Nebraska children, who make up three-quarters of all Medicaid enrollees in our state.
- More Nebraska children will go hungry with a $150 billion cut from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which would devastate the program’s efficiency by creating a block grant-type structure. Last year, SNAP lifted 34,000 Nebraskans above the poverty line and helped over 87,000 Nebraska children.[i] Today, 1 in 5 children in our state don’t know where their next meal is coming from, which is certain to rise under the House proposal.[ii]
- High-poverty schools will lose the opportunity to flexibly serve low-income children breakfast and lunch through a $1.6 billion cut to the Community Eligibility Program (CEP). The House bill raises the threshold for participation in CEP, affecting 5 schools with a total enrollment of 986 students that have already enrolled in the state, and preventing an additional 81 schools from participating.[iii]
The budget targets an astounding number of other programs that are crucial to children, including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which provides cash assistance to the poorest families and funds child care, work supports, and child welfare in Nebraska; the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which is recognized as one of the most effective anti-poverty programs; and Head Start, which supported over 6,500 of Nebraska’s youngest and most vulnerable citizens last year.
Every Nebraskan has a stake in the future of our children and should be deeply concerned by this budget, which is a blueprint for our country to turn its back on its most vulnerable children. Will you join us in asking Nebraska’s members of the House to protect The Good Life for our state’s youngest citizens?
Rep. Fortenberry (District 1): (202) 225-4806
Rep. Bacon (District 2): (202) 225-4155
Rep. Smith (District 3): (202) 225-6435
[i] Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, “In Nebraska, Safety Net Lifts Roughly 230,000 People above Poverty Line and Provides Health Coverage to 33 Percent of Children.”
[ii] Voices for Children in Nebraska, Kids Count in Nebraska 2016 Report, http://kidscountnebraska.com/economic-stability/#hunger.
[iii] Food Research & Action Center, “Facts: Implications of House Budget on Community Eligibility,” http://www.frac.org/wp-content/uploads/frac-facts-implications-house-budget-cep.pdf.