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April 06, 2011: America's Needy Not Protected in 2012 Budget Proposal

10:41 AM Apr 06, 2011

Proposed Budget Will Not Protect the Needy
Shrinking Safety Net too Small to Catch Americans in Poverty

Yesterday’s proposed budget resolution in the House of Representatives relies on cuts which will be harmful to many of those in America who are most in need, said the Jewish Council for Public Affairs.

“We are concerned that a singular focus on deficit reduction means our families, those looking for work, and others who are held up by our national social safety net will be neglected,” said JCPA President Rabbi Steve Gutow. “This proposal prioritizes discretionary domestic spending cuts to reduce the size of the federal budget. But the budget must balance prudent reductions with a defense of our nation’s most vulnerable, as well as directed investments to create more jobs and spur economic growth. Instead, this budget fundamentally restructures successful programs like Medicaid and SNAP to nominally give the states more control, but will likely reduce access and services. There is no doubt that these programs need reform to limit waste and increase effectiveness, but as considerations of this proposal begins, the JCPA asks Members of Congress to remember that a government’s efficacy is not measured by the number of programs cut, but by the number of Americans served and protected.”

“If a budget is a reflection of our national priorities and morals, then we cannot ignore the reality of hungry families and high unemployment,” said JCPA Chair Dr. Conrad Giles. “Tying food stamps and housing aid to work, as proposed in this budget, does away with the flexibility required for a safety net to serve its purpose in the midst of a recession. Pell grants, too, would see a drastic reduction. We know that education is the key to success.  Neither our economy nor our country are served by making it more difficult for young adults to go to college. We need a budget that will help all Americans recover and rise from the recession. That means providing the tools and extending the social ladders necessary to fulfill one’s potential, not shrinking them.” 

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