Failing to Raise the Debt Ceiling will have Disastrous Consequences for Children
Nearly 100 Advocacy Organizations Urge Policymakers to Hold Children Harmless in the Debt Ceiling Deal
Washington D.C. – Today, a coalition of nearly 100 national, state, and local advocacy organizations expressed their deep concern to the President and top Congressional leaders about the implications of not raising the debt ceiling on fate of America’s next generation. The group urged our nation’s leaders to protect children from harm as they continue to negotiate debt ceiling solutions.
In a letter delivered today to President Obama and Congressional leadership, the coalition of organizations wrote, “If we fail to raise the debt ceiling, the effects for children and families will be catastrophic. The federal government will have to choose between providing funding children’s health insurance and paying military families the benefits they have earned. Interest rates will rise, making it more difficult for families to acquire mortgages or borrow money to send their children to college. Businesses will incur higher expenses, making it will be more difficult to generate and sustain well paying jobs. Finally, the costs of everyday items, such as fuel and food will rise, making it even more difficult for working parents to provide for their children.”
“There is no question that tough times call for tough measures, but reducing spending on programs that protect the future of our next generation is not the way to solve our deficit problem,” said Bruce Lesley, President of the First Focus Campaign for Children, the bipartisan child advocacy organization spearheading the letter. “While the American people want our nation's deficit to be addressed, they oppose balancing the budget on the backs of children. When provided a list of potential cuts to the budget, voters firmly and overwhelmingly reject the idea of making major federal budget cuts to K-12 education, child nutrition, the Children's Health Insurance Program, Medicaid, Head Start, and student loans. We urge our nation’s policymakers to heed the priorities of their constituents and understand that cutting programs for low-income and other vulnerable children will not only hurt the next generation, such cuts will increase our long term costs, as well as damage our economic and global competitiveness.”
The letter states, “Inaction is not an option. However, deficit reduction cannot and should not be accomplished on the backs of children. Spending on children makes up less than 10 percent of total federal spending. A cut from this small slice of spending will barely dent the deficit, but will have dire consequences for the people who need the biggest helping hand.”
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