Statement by the Children's Defense Fund

Jan 30, 2002, 00:00 ET from Children's Defense Fund

    WASHINGTON, Jan. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- The following is a statement from
 Marian Wright Edelman of the Children's Defense Fund:
     "The Children's Defense Fund (CDF) understands and supports the need for
 homeland security.  We also understand the importance of protecting the nation
 from enemies that would do us harm.  But national security is not just about
 investing in the military, it is about investing in children and families.
 CDF wants every child and family in America to be safe and secure.  But too
 many families are threatened by a terror that comes from losing a job, from
 not knowing where the next meal is coming from or whether they'll have a roof
 over their head.  The President's proposals to fight the recession at home do
 not go nearly far enough.  They do not do enough to help the neediest
 Americans.  We applaud his commitment to education and improving Head Start
 and hope his budget will reflect his stated commitment.  We applaud the
 restoration of food stamps for many legal immigrants.  But there is so much
 more he can do to improve the lives of many more Americans.  There are nearly
 12 million children living in poverty in America.  We worry that number will
 grow given the economic downturn.
     "The President's economic plan so far has favored the wealthiest one-
 percent of Americans.  This nation should not give another tax break to the
 wealthy or corporate America or make permanent existing tax breaks for the
 wealthiest individuals and companies until there are no more hungry, homeless,
 poor children.  For the annual cost of what the President has already approved
 in tax cuts to the top one percent of taxpayers, we could pay for child care,
 Head Start, and health care for all of the children who still need it -- as
 proposed in the comprehensive Act to Leave No Child Behind (S.940/H.R. 1990).
     "More and more working families are losing their jobs and showing up in
 greater numbers in emergency food lines and homeless shelters all across this
 nation.  We must stop making it so difficult for low-income working families
 to be self-sufficient.  President Bush's budget should help working families
 keep their jobs by providing child care and health care.  If he is serious
 about leaving no child behind, then his budget should reflect it.  He should
 put considerable investment in the Child Care and Development Block Grant this
 year so that two million more children in working families can have quality,
 affordable, safe child care and enter school ready to learn and succeed. If he
 is serious about leaving no child behind he should put considerable investment
 in the reauthorization of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) so
 working families can get the help they need to keep a job and lift themselves
 and their families out of poverty.  It is one thing to say the words, it is
 quite another to do what it takes to really Leave No Child Behind(R).  We hope
 he will make good on his promises."
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SOURCE Children's Defense Fund