Note: Yesterday Children’s Alliance staff sent the following letter to Congress members representing Washington state.
Dear Members of the Washington State Congressional Delegation,
At the Children’s Alliance, we believe policies and programs at every level of government should work for kids. We also believe in a fair economy and sound investments. The best way to ensure we remain a strong nation ready to take on tomorrow's challenges is by investing in our children today.
We have the ingenuity and resources in this country to ensure all kids get a fair chance. Yet, continued cuts to smart investments threaten our future. Austerity measures disproportionately impact children color – the fastest growing population in the country – thus stifling our economic potential.
We need an alternative to the pending automatic cuts, but a sensible one. Instead of indiscriminate cuts that threaten our entire range of national priorities, we need an economically sound—and fair—budget that looks at both program spending and tax spending together. Congress has already cut $1.5 trillion through spending caps – hitting non-defense discretionary spending hard. Now, it's time for a balanced approach.
Raise revenue by ending tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans and protect programs that help children and families thrive. Revenue should not be raised by setting back the clock on enhancements made to the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax credit. Extending these improvements mean 246,432 working families in Washington will retain benefits that help build long-term economic security.
Specifically, we ask that you raise revenue and:
- Reject any cuts to SNAP. Food stamps are our number one defense against hunger and they work. Cuts to SNAP simply mean more children go hungry.
- Protect Medicaid and CHIP. Washington has led the way in health care coverage for children with our effective Apple Health for Kids program. Medicaid and CHIP are essential to helping kids get the care they need to be successful in the classroom and in life. These programs should be strengthened, not compromised.
- Invest in early childhood education and child care assistance programs. Children shape their brain architecture in their early years, before they ever set foot into a classroom. These programs not only help children build a strong foundation for learning, but they also provide parents with the opportunity to work. High quality early interventions mitigate harmful effects of poverty and can help level the playing field.
- Refuse to cut non-defense discretionary spending further. Not only would additional cuts harm early learning programs – like Head Start – but they would also impact other important services like WIC, mental health care, housing, and transportation.
Defunding effective programs that help keep families healthy and kids ready to learn only costs America more in the long run. We have the opportunity to target investments; we simply cannot afford to shortchange our children in favor of tax breaks for those who don’t need them.
As always, the Children’s Alliance is happy to serve as a resource for you and your staff. Should you have any questions or would like more information, please do not hesitate to contact Melissa Bailey, our Policy Specialist focused on federal advocacy, at 206.324.0340 x29.