Yesterday, two House Committees passed measures that would devastate programs serving vulnerable children and families. Under the House approved H.Con.Res. 112, six House committees including Agriculture, Energy and Commerce, Financial Services, Judiciary, Oversight and Government Reform, and Ways and Means were required to find additional savings that produce a total of $261 billion in deficit reduction over ten years.
The Agriculture Committee, tasked with finding $33.2 billion in savings over ten years, approved a draft budget reconciliation bill that would cut funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps, by $33 billion. Many children being served by the child welfare system rely on SNAP to meet their nutritional needs. These children already face many challenges, including the trauma of abuse and neglect, poor health status and developmental delays. Reducing food and nutritional support will only exacerbate these issues, making it more difficult for vulnerable children to recover and make progress.
The Ways and Means Committee, required to find $53 billion in spending cuts over 10 years, approved a repeal of the Social Services Block Grant by a vote of 22-14. SSBG is a flexible source of funds that allows states to provide an array of services to children, youth, and families. Since 2000, funding for SSBG has been maintained at $1.7 billion, and represents roughly 12% of all federal funding states receive to provide child abuse prevention, adoption, foster care, child protection, independent and transitional living, and residential services for children and youth.
CWLA is concerned that the recent actions of these House Committees will negatively impact the vulnerable children and families who rely on these safety net programs and therefore opposes the proposed cuts to SNAP as well as the elimination of the SSBG. Following yesterday’s markup, CWLA sent a letter to House Leadership opposing the elimination of SSBG.