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Congressional Super Committee Convenes to Cut $1.5 Trillion from Federal Budget; What Does it Mean for Kids?

by Deirdre Byrne, Director of Policy, Children's Health Fund

The summer recess behind them, Congressional members returned to Washington this week to tackle the next step in critical budget negotiations.  In August, Congress passed and the President signed a budget plan that cuts $1.1 trillion from the federal budget, starting in 2013.  As part of the agreement, a Joint Select Committee (Super Committee) was created to find an additional $1.5 trillion in spending cuts.  The Super Committee must pass this budget proposal by November 23rd and while the goal is $1.5 trillion in cuts, the proposal must cut the federal budget by at least $1.2 trillion.

Twelve members of Congress, six Republicans and six Democrats, were appointed, however the entire Congress must vote to pass the Super Committee’s proposal in December.  Members include: Max Baucus (D-MT), John Kerry (D-MA), John Kyl (R-AZ), Patty Murray (D-WA), Rob Portman (R-OH), and Pat Toomey (R-PA) from the Senate and Xavier Beccera (D-CA), Dave Camp (R-MI), James Clyburn (D-SC), Jeb Hensnarling (R-TX), Fred Upton (R-MI), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) from the House of Representatives.

During the first meeting of committee members held on September 8th, procedural rules were approved.  Moving forward, it is clear that EVERYTHING is on the table for the negotiation including Medicaid, Community Health Centers, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, food stamps and Head Start, just to name a few.  These cuts could be historic and wide ranging, with an impact that could last for decades. For more news on the first meeting, click here.

What can YOU do? 
Now is the time to speak up for programs that millions of low income children and families depend on. Even if your Representative or Senators are not Super Committee members, they need to hear from you because they are working right now behind the scenes with Super Committee members to determine what will be cut and the severity of those cuts. Every congressional member will inevitably vote on the deal in December.

We have seen record numbers of children and families becoming eligible for Medicaid and CHIP during the economic downturn. We have also seen states cut eligibility and put in place enrollment freezes for these programs in the name of budget cuts and fiscal austerity.  These actions prevent thousands of children from getting the health care that they need.  Now is not the time to sacrifice our future for shortsighted budget cuts.

Will you join us?  WRITE A LETTER NOW.