Congress has adjourned for the week without finding agreement to stop the budget cuts due to sequestration. The deadline is today and the President met with Congressional leaders at the White House for one last attempt to reach agreement before the deadline, but it was not successful. Yesterday the Senate considered two plans to replace the sequester. A Democratic proposal, S. 388, that would raise taxes on households earning more than $5 million a year won 51 votes but failed to garner the 60 votes needed to avoid a GOP filibuster. A Republican alternative, S. 16, that would give the President greater authority for deciding what to cut was rejected 62 to 38. The House has made no recent attempt to stop the sequester after adopting two proposals last year to shift the spending cuts from the military to domestic programs.
CWLA has developed detailed charts breaking down the state by state financial impacts the cuts will have on child welfare programs as well as a listing of other information and resources. We will continue to follow developments closely, engage in efforts to replace the cuts, and provide analysis and information as they develop.
Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner held a series of face-to-face meetings today on Capitol Hill to further negotiations on a budget agreement. Secretary Geithner is the lead negotiator for President Obama. He was accompanied to the Hill by Rob Nabors, White House chief legislative liaison. They met with Congressional leaders from both parties and from both the Senate and the House. It was reported that many substantive issues were discussed but no breakthroughs occurred. The two sides remain far apart on taxes, spending cuts and how and to what extent entitlement programs will be effected.
Staff level talks are expected to continue over the coming days. There is a concerted effort to arrive at an agreement before Christmas. If no agreement is reached by the first of the year, a number of changes in fiscal policy will take place including the expiration of tax cuts enacted under President George W. Bush as well as spending cuts to both domestic and defense programs. The cuts, known as sequestration, affect child welfare funding streams including the Promoting Safe and Stable Families Program and Child Welfare Services under Title IV-B of the Social Security Act, as well as other critical low-income support programs such as the Child Care Development Block Grant, Head Start, and the Social Services Block Grant. CWLA is circulating a petition to President Obama and Speaker Boehner not to balance the budget on the backs of vulnerable children and families and posted more information on the budget negotiations here.