Debt Ceiling Fight Threatens Vulnerable Families

Key Programs for Children and Families Threatened by Debt Ceiling Debate

Key Programs for Children and Families Threatened by Debt Ceiling Debate

On April 26, the House of Representatives advanced a bill that would briefly raise the debt ceiling while cutting billions of dollars in federal spending. While President Biden has already vowed to veto the Limit, Save, Grow Act and it is unlikely to pass the Senate, the proposed budget cuts and unprecedented tactics are concerning.

The proposed cuts could be devastating for the families we serve. Some of the estimates we’ve seen include:

  • Over 100,000 child care slots would be eliminated,
  • 400,000 people would lose access to meals they depend on,
  • Over 350,000 families would lose housing assistance vouchers,
  • 250,000 participants would lose WIC benefits, and
  • As many as 21 million people could lose their health insurance.

We work alongside many of Kansas City’s most vulnerable and under-resourced families to help children take advantage of the immense, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that exists during the first five years of life — when 90 percent of brain growth occurs. Many of these important programs give children and families a fighting chance at success.

The myths of rampant fraud and people “gaming” the system that often accompany calls to cut and restrict social service programs simply aren’t true. These are wise and fruitful investments in the public good. In the case of early care and education, every dollar spent on high-quality, birth-to-five programs for disadvantaged children delivers a 13% annual return on investment, according to Nobel-prize winning economist James J. Heckman.

Congress can debate future spending, but using a very serious default as leverage to hastily cut funding that has already been approved through the agreed upon process is dangerous and irresponsible. The proposed cuts would have serious consequences for vulnerable populations and the economy as a whole.These programs aren’t simply expenses. They are investments in our communities, our neighbors and our shared future.


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