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House Republican Spending Cuts in H.R. 1 Devastating To Women, Families and the Economy

H.R. 1, the House Republicans’ spending plan for the rest of fiscal year 2011, slashes funding for services vital to women and girls at every stage of their lives, from early childhood to K-12, through their working and childbearing years, and into old age, while more costly tax breaks for millionaires and corporate special interests are untouched.  In addition, the bill prohibits the federal government from enforcing important legal protections for women. For example, H.R. 1:

Halts Funding to Implement the Health Care Law

Multiple and duplicative amendments adopted by the House would essentially stop any funding to move forward to implement the Affordable Care Act, the landmark health care law enacted last year.  H.R. 1 threatens hard-fought and won consumer protections that, among many things, will stop insurance companies from treating women like a pre-existing condition.

Eliminates Funding for the Title X Family Planning Program, Teen Pregnancy Prevention and Planned Parenthood 

H.R. 1 eliminates funding for the Title X program, which for more than 40 years has provided family planning services, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and other preventive health care to low-income women in need.  Title X-funded health centers serve more than five million low-income women and men each year, and six in 10 women who obtain health care from a family planning center consider it to be their primary source of health care.  H.R. 1 also eliminates funding for teen pregnancy prevention, creating yet another barrier for young women in need of tools and resources to help them make healthy, responsible decisions about their health and lives.  In addition, an amendment added on the House floor removes ALL federal funding from Planned Parenthood--part of a targeted campaign to shut down health centers that serve three million women each year and that jeopardizes women’s access to basic, preventive health care.

Cuts Nutrition Programs for Pregnant Women and their Children

H.R. 1 cuts $747 million from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, better known as the WIC program.   The WIC program provides nutritious food, counseling, and other supports to 9.6 million low-income pregnant women, new mothers, and infants each month.  This program makes a real difference; studies have linked WIC participation with higher birth weight and lower infant mortality.  Cutting this program will put millions of pregnant women and infants at risk.

Cuts Funding for Prenatal Care

H.R. 1 cuts $50 million from the Title V Maternal & Child Health Block Grant.  Title V-supported programs provide prenatal health services to 2.5 million women and primary and preventive health care to 31 million children each year.  Cuts this deep will devastate state and local programs serving women, babies, children, and children with special health care needs.

Cuts Head Start and Child Care

H.R. 1 cuts more than one billion dollars from the Head Start program and $39 million from child care, causing 368,000 children to lose early learning support.  Head Start and Early Head Start and the Child Care Development Block Grant are our key federal early learning investments. These programs make a real difference for the millions of families and children they serve, by allowing low-income children to start school ready to succeed and supporting and enabling families to work.  Funding is already insufficient, and these cuts will result in even fewer children benefiting from early learning programs.

Eliminates Funding that Helps Schools Comply With Title IX

H.R. 1 eliminates the Women’s Educational Equity program, which promotes education equity for women and girls and helps educational agencies meet their obligations under Title IX, the law that requires gender equity for boys and girls in every educational program that receives federal funding.

Cuts Programs that Help Students Pay for College

H.R. 1 cuts funding for Pell grants, which have been essential to helping low-income women afford college.  9.4 million students, mostly women, could find college less affordable, because cuts to Pell grants would be up to $845 ($602 on average).  It further eliminates the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant program, which provides additional grants of up to $4,000 to the lowest-income Pell recipients and reaches 1.3 million of the nation’s neediest students.  Cuts to these programs will make college less accessible for low-income women.

Defunds Enforcement of For-Profit-College Regulation

The Department of Education has proposed gainful-employment regulations that would ensure that for-profit, non-profit and public schools are providing quality education and not preying on vulnerable students for their financial aid dollars.  These regulations contain critical protections for students as well as taxpayers, and are of particular importance to women, who make up two-thirds of students at for-profit colleges. H.R. 1 prohibits funds from the Department of Education from being used to enforce these gainful-employment regulations.

Cuts Funding for Job Training

H.R. 1 cuts over $2 billion from job training programs that are critical in preparing workers for employment in growth industries.  For example, funding under Title I of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) is zeroed out - eliminating a $1.4 billion program serving 1.7 million youth and adult workers.  Funding is also eliminated for the Green Jobs Innovation Fund (-$40 million) and Youthbuild (-$102 million), and slashed for the Senior Community Service Employment Program (-$525 million).  These programs are particularly important for women workers, many of whom are concentrated in low-wage, low-skill, low-security jobs without opportunity for advancement.

Cuts Funding for Social Security Offices and Supports for Elderly Women

H.R. 1 cuts funding for the Social Security Administration by hundreds of millions of dollars.  These cuts will force thousands of layoffs and furloughs in offices across the country, which means as many as 400,000 people could have their retirement, survivors, and Medicare applications substantially delayed.  The bill also cuts funding for a range of supports for elderly people, including employment services, meals, and housing.  Women are a majority of Social Security and Medicare recipients and more than two-thirds of the elderly poor – so they will be disproportionately harmed by these cuts.

Blocks Payment of Legal Fees Awarded to Individuals who Win Suits Against the Government

The Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA) provides attorney fees to individuals and small businesses who prevail in claims against the government--for example, in cases where the government improperly denied an individual Social Security benefits or cases where a federal employer discriminated against an employee on the basis of her age.  These awards allow low-income and middle-income people who cannot otherwise afford an attorney to bring their claims.  An amendment added to H.R. 1 on the House floor prohibits payment of EAJA attorney fee awards for the remainder of 2011.

While GOP leaders are insisting – under the guise of deficit reduction – on extreme and reckless cuts that will make women’s lives more difficult and dangerous, they are protecting tax giveaways to millionaires and corporations. 

  • Extend tax breaks for millionaires – or protect services for millions of Americans?  The extension of Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and additional tax breaks for multimillion dollar estates demanded by GOP leaders will cost $69.5 billion this year, more than the total $61 billion in spending cuts in H.R. 1.
  • Keep the loophole for private investment fund managers – or restore job training? Eliminating the tax loophole that allows multimillionaire private investment fund managers to pay lower tax rates than ordinary workers would raise an average $1.48 billion annually, more than the $1.4 billion cut from key Workforce Investment Act programs.
  • Give handouts to big oil, gas and coal – or protect Head Start, child care, and Social Security services?  Eliminating tax subsidies for the oil, gas and coal industries would raise an average $4.6 billion annually, more than the $2.8 billion needed to protect current Head Start and child care services plus $1.7 billion to fully fund Social Security offices.
  • Give tax incentives to corporations to shift jobs and profits offshore – or restore funding for education and health care? International tax reform proposals would raise an average $12.9 billion annually, more than the combined cuts to Pell grants ($5.7 billion), schools serving disadvantaged children ($0.7 billion), Title X family planning ($0.3 billion), Maternal and Child Health Block Grant ($0.05 billion), nutrition assistance for Women, Infants and Children ($0.7 billion), and community health centers ($1.3 billion).

Sources: Coalition on Human Needs (CHN), Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), Social Security Works, U.S. Dep’t of the Treasury

 

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contact the National Women’s Law Center at www.nwlc.org.