National Urban League President Marc H. Morial stated that House passage of the FY2006 Budget Reconciliation bill by a narrow margin of 216-214 will place our nation's most vulnerable citizens at serious risk – all to ensure that our most wealthy citizens receive their tax breaks.
"Last December, I warned that if this budget is adopted, it would be tantamount to declaring war on our nation's poor and low income Americans. Indeed this budget, now headed to the President's desk, threatens the health, well-being and economic security of millions of Americans who struggle daily to meet their basic human needs," said Morial.
As enacted the budget will impose cuts of nearly $40 billion over five years. Poor and low-income families will have to pay more for their medical care, suffer reduced benefits, will be turned away from hospitals for non-emergency care, and lose Medicaid coverage altogether. In a new report, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that about 45,000 Medicaid enrollees would lose coverage in fiscal year 2010 and that 65,000 would lose coverage in fiscal year 2015 because of the imposition of premiums. About 60 percent of those losing coverage would be children!
Changes to the current welfare system enacted in this budget will subject families to harsher work requirements with inadequate funding to meet the additional child care and support services needed to meet those requirements. None of the provisions long advocated by the National Urban League to address discriminatory practices in the welfare system are included. Adding insult to injury, cuts to the child support program will result in a decline in child support collections.
Instead of facilitating access to higher education – the great equalizer – a great divide between the haves and have-nots' access to higher education will now be further exacerbated by the $12.7 billion cut over five years to student loans and higher interest rates.
"This is immoral and cruel public policy that will immediately jeopardize the lives of millions of our nation's most vulnerable children, elderly, disabled, poor and low income families, and students seeking a higher education," said Morial. "Those policymakers who supported this budget must now be held accountable for its consequences," Morial said.
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