Federal government nears shutdown over DACA impasse

Written by: Erin Miller
Date Posted: January 19, 2018

The federal government is nearing a shutdown this weekend as lawmakers try to reach an agreement over the future of thousands of children and young adults brought to this country as minors. The government will shut down tonight unless a Congress approves a short-term spending bill, known as a Continuing Resolution (or CR) in the next few hours.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed another short-term CR yesterday with largely Republican votes and the bill is now in the U.S. Senate, where it needs votes from both parties to pass. The CR funds the government until next month and includes a budget-neutral six-year funding extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). However, the bill does not include security for the 800,000 young people, including 17,300 Coloradans, who are recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. It also does not include funding for Community Health Centers or home-visiting programs that help ensure kids get off to a healthy start.

The bill creates a false choice between the critical need to fund CHIP, which expired on Sept. 30, and other programs that are vitally important to the health and well-being of kids and families. A recent study found that after DACA was introduced in 2012, the mothers eligible for the program saw an immediate improvement in their children’s mental health—diagnoses of adjustment and anxiety disorders fell by more than 50 percent among these children of Dreamers.

We hope that Congress can reach a compromise to maintain critical federal services while providing kids with all of the things they need to ensure their healthy development. That includes health insurance, community health services, home visiting services, and the security of knowing that their parents, who have been in this country since they were children, can stay and continue to provide their care.

Erin Miller

About Erin Miller

Erin serves as the Vice President of Health Initiatives for the Colorado Children’s Campaign, leading efforts to improve health insurance coverage and quality for Colorado’s kids, improve access to health services, and ensure that every child has healthy places to live, learn, and play. Prior to joining the Children’s Campaign in September 2015, Erin worked on the Accountable Care Collaborative team at the Colorado Department of Health Policy and Financing. She has extensive experience evaluating federal, state, and local policies related to Medicaid, CHIP, the Affordable Care Act, and public health programs as well as working with legislators, policymakers, constituents, and other stakeholders to improve the health and well-being of vulnerable populations. Her professional experiences range from serving as a WIC Educator and Local Area Retail Coordinator for Denver Health to serving as a Special Assistant in the HHS Office of Planning and Evaluation in Washington DC and as a Health Policy Adviser and Budget Analyst for the U.S. House Budget Committee.