HARRISBURG, Pa., Dec. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Children's advocates in
Pennsylvania today reached out to their networks to urge supporters to call
Sen. Arlen Specter's Washington D.C. office and urge him to file a "no" vote
on the conference report (S. 1932) scheduled to be considered tonight or
tomorrow morning by the Senate. Specter is one of just two or three key
senators being targeted by Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children (PPC) and
other advocacy groups whose vote could halt this bill. The conference report
was passed by the House this morning.
House and Senate leaders in Congress completed a budget conference
agreement over the weekend that contains $40 billion in cuts over five years.
Particularly harmful to Pennsylvania children and families are cuts to
Medicaid, child care, child support and TANF. The agreement now stands or
falls on the final vote in the Senate.
"This call is the most important call we have ever asked our supporters to
make," said Joan L. Benso, president and CEO of Pennsylvania Partnerships for
Children. "Sen. Specter has the power to halt this bill that would be harmful
to Pennsylvania's children, families, the elderly and the disabled. Never
before has it been so important to Pennsylvania's children for one of our
senators to hear from his constituents."
The conference report includes a Medicaid provision that would allow
states to charge co-payments to low-income children and families. The report
also would eliminate standards which assure that children receive
comprehensive health care benefits.
The conference report includes a $1.5 billion cut in federal funding for
child support enforcement efforts over the next five years and a $4.9 billion
cut over the next 10 years. This is funding that states use to track down
absent parents and collect and distribute child support owed to families. It
is estimated that Pennsylvania would lose more than $90 million over the next
The report includes the reauthorization of TANF and increases the work
participation requirements. Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that
some states - including Pennsylvania - would have a difficult time meeting the
new work mandates and would face fiscal penalties as a consequence.
The conference report includes $1 billion in additional child care funding
which is $7.4 billion less than what CBO estimates to be the cost to states of
meeting the new work requirements, and more than $11 billion less than what
states would need both to meet the new work requirements and to ensure that
their current child care programs for low-income working families are not
This means the conference agreement includes no new funding for states to
help meet the intensified work requirements; fewer children would receive
child care in PA five years from now than do today.
Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children is a strong, effective and trusted
voice for improving the health, education and well-being of the Commonwealth's
children. More information may be obtained by contacting Kathy Geller Myers at
717-236-5680 or firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children