WASHINGTON, Dec. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Ten newly elected members of the California Congressional Delegation urged their colleagues to protect funding for programs that impact the lives of infants, toddlers, and their families, in California and across the country.
The letter, circulated by Representative-elect Julia Brownley with the support of First 5 LA calls on the members of the 112th Congress to keep in mind the impact of budget decisions on the youngest and most vulnerable children and families in California as they deliberate possible solutions to the fiscal cliff.
First 5 LA Executive Director Kim Belshe lauded the new lawmakers for their support of young children in the budget deliberations. "The efforts of Congresswoman-elect Brownley and her colleagues are to be commended. It is particularly noteworthy that these newly-elected representatives did not wait to be sworn in before standing up for children and families."
Congress faces some tough budget decisions between now and the end of the year. President Obama and Congressional leaders have been trading proposals for solving the growing federal deficit and debt problem, with no apparent resolution in sight. Absent an agreement, automatic spending cuts (sequestration) will be triggered and federal programs across-the-board will face significant reductions.
The Brownley letter cites congressional reports which estimate that sequestration will result in the loss of vital nutrition benefits through the WIC, the federally-funded health and nutrition program for women, infants, and children for upwards of 120,000 young children and their mothers in California alone and the loss of Head Start and Early Head Start services for nearly 12,000 infants, toddlers and preschoolers in the state.
About First 5 LA
First 5 LA oversees the L.A. County allocation of funds from Proposition 10, which added a 50-cent tax on tobacco products sold in California. Funds raised help pay for health care, education and child development programs for children from the prenatal stage to age five and their families. First 5 LA's mission is to increase the number of young children who are physically and emotionally healthy, safe, and ready to learn. For more information, please visit www.first5la.org.
Letter from California Congressional Delegation
November 28, 2012
United States House of Representatives
United States Senate
In January, we will take office in the 113th Congress, joining many of you to work together to address the pressing issues facing our constituents and the nation. Today we write, in advance, to share our concern about the impact of sequestration and other budget decisions in the days ahead on infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and their families in California and throughout the nation.
According to a report issued by Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations, allowing the automatic scheduled cuts to take effect the day before we enter into office would mean that 120,000 young children and their mothers in California will lose vital nutrition benefits through the WIC program and more than 11,900 infants, toddlers and preschoolers in the state would be without Head Start services proven to alter their life trajectory and increase the chance that they will complete college, get a good job and become productive, contributing citizens. Further, in California alone, 5,100 low-income children would lose access to child care services which their parents rely on to help them work to support their families.
Today, children under the age of 5 represent 12 percent of our national population, but 100 percent of our future. Cuts to programs that serve this critical population are shortsighted and will result in larger costs down the line.
We stand ready to work with you as colleagues next year to tackle the challenges which face our nation -- challenges which know no partisan bounds. For now, know that, as your constituents, we stand behind you with the interests of the youngest among us in mind as you deliberate the fate of our fiscal house and a burgeoning problem which should not be left to address tomorrow.
Incoming First Term Members-Elect in the California Delegation
Gloria Negrete McLeod
Sharon Woodson-Bryant (213) 482-7507
SOURCE First 5 LA