President’s budget proposal would jeopardize child health and well-being in Colorado
President Trump released his budget proposal for fiscal year 2019 this week, and it doesn’t work for kids. While Congress won’t subscribe to it in its entirety, it outlines the president’s vision for America. It is a roadmap to his political agenda and it has serious implications for children and families.
In his budget, President Trump continues efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, makes drastic cuts to Medicaid and dismantles consumer protections for those with pre-existing conditions. The Affordable Care Act and Medicaid provide access to health care for and protect the financial resources of millions of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Coloradans. Since the implementation of many provisions of the Affordable Care Act, the state’s uninsured rate for kids under 18 has fallen by nearly half, dropping from 8 percent in 2013 to 4 percent in 2016.
In addition to slashing funding for health care, the budget outlines drastic changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). It envisions both reductions in those benefits (including cuts of more than 25 percent) and a shift from allowing program recipients to select their own foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables, to giving its recipients a box of government-picked nonperishable food items. SNAP is an important tool for fighting hunger in Colorado and cutting benefits would reduce the program’s ability to help keep Colorado kids fed, growing and learning. It is one of the largest anti-hunger and anti-poverty programs in the nation serving more than 43 million people and 21 million households across the nation. In fact, SNAP prevented more than .
The budget also rescinds the increase in child care funding included in the bipartisan budget deal passed just a couple of weeks ago and proposes significant cuts to funding for education, scientific research, job training and other core services that help our communities thrive. For K-12 education, for example, the budget seeks to zero out $2 billion in funding for teacher training and class-size reduction efforts, about $1.2 billion for after-school programs and $12 million for gifted and talented education. The budget would also eliminate $400 million in Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants, a pot of money created by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) that states can use to improve access to technology or boost programs that improve student health, among other things. There would be a $25 million cut in funds targeting school safety activities.
It would also reduce housing stability, a critical support for child development and school attendance. Finally, the budget outlines a $21 billion cut to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, a program that is essential for many low-income families with children. Colorado Works is our state’s TANF program and promotes self-sufficiency through financial assistance, work readiness programs, and ensuring employment opportunities. On average, more than 43,300 Colorado families rely on these programs each month.
The spending cuts and policy proposals in the president’s budget would jeopardize the health and well-being of Colorado kids. We will continue to follow these proposals and the budget process in Congress as it unfolds.