Says automatic, mindless cuts are “dangerous and irresponsible”
ABCD President/CEO John Drew today asked Congress to act quickly to repeal the reckless legislation – the Budget Control Act of 2011 - that is putting America on the path of sequestration cuts totaling $1.2 trillion over ten years with no regard to the programs and people – both domestic and military – that those cuts will harm.
“This is the most dangerous and irresponsible piece of legislation I have ever seen,” said Drew.
Drew said the mindless and extreme budget reductions due to kick in on March 1 will cause 70,000 low-income children to be cut from Head Start early care and education programs. Also facing drastic cuts are Meals on Wheels for seniors, food and drug safety interventions, medical research, air traffic control, housing and homelessness prevention programs and more. The nation’s military effectiveness will be dangerously reduced.
“Sequestration will put our most vulnerable citizens at risk,” he said. “These are people who did nothing to cause the nation’s current fiscal issues. Why should they suffer? Why should strong, solid programs that lift poor people up and provide opportunities for children, adolescents and adults to improve their lives and give back to their communities be devastated? Why should frail seniors lose the supports that enable them to live in dignity in their later years?”
Drew called on Congress and the President to develop a long-term debt reduction plan with entitlement cuts and tax reform that increases revenue. “Debt reduction should NOT increase poverty or exacerbate hardship for families struggling to make ends meet,” he said.
He also pointed out that the cuts will cost tax payers far more down the line. “More people will fall into homelessness, costing government huge amounts to house them in shelters and motels. Children may do poorly in school, without the early education and care that puts them on the road to success. Seniors will go without heat and food and fill our emergency rooms. These cuts reflect backward thinking of the worst kind.”
Following are examples of the devastation the cuts will wreak on struggling families and all Americans in just the first year of implementation. If the cuts continue over 10 years, as planned, these programs will be eliminated or severely jeopardized.
• Head Start: 70,000 fewer poor children will receive comprehensive early childhood education services in Head Start, the program applauded as a pathway to a better life for low-income children and their parents;
• Senior Nutrition: 17 million fewer meals will be delivered to low-income seniors;
• Fuel Assistance: 1,332,000 households will lose Fuel Assistance, leaving seniors to choose between heat, food and medicine and young families to shiver before dangerous space heaters;
• Housing and Homelessness: 3,017,226 families will lose Section 8 housing. Public Housing Authorities will have funding cut with deterioration of housing developments. Many families – already on the edge economically – will be homeless and on the street.
• Women’s Health: Hundreds of thousands of low-income women will lose essential health maintenance and illness prevention services that keep them healthy and save tax payer’ money. Breast cancer screening, HIV testing and much more will be lost.
• Medical research will be cut – condemning people to disease and loss of essential treatment;
• Coast Guard air and surface rescues will be reduced by 25 percent.
• Embassy security, in the wake of the horror at Benghazi, would absorb a cut of $168 million.
• Federal aid to states and cities will be reduced, severely impacting schools and services;
• Environmental protections and food inspection will be cut back;
• Air traffic controllers will be laid off, making the skies far less friendly for all of us.
• AND MUCH MORE…
ABCD serves more than 85,000 low-income Boston-area residents through its central offices and a decentralized network of Neighborhood Service Centers (NSCs), Head Start centers, Family Planning sites and Foster Grandparent sites. Programs and affiliations include Fuel Assistance; Head Start; Child Care Services; Child Care Choices of Boston; Education; Career Development; Housing and Homelessness Services; Health Services; Family Planning; Urban College of Boston; University High – an Alternative High School; Ostiguy High School for high school students in recovery; Weatherization; Foster Grandparents; Elder Services; Intergenerational Programs; management of the Combined Federal Campaign, Commonwealth of Massachusetts and City of Boston employee giving campaigns; advocacy and consumer services.