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families & the federal budget

A Slow-Motion Disaster in the Making

After waiting until the last possible minute to act, Congress recently averted a shutdown of the federal government by passing a “Continuing Resolution” (CR) for the 2016 federal fiscal year that began on October 1, 2015. Yet this short-term action, which only keeps the government open until mid-December, can’t be counted as an accomplishment because the CR fails fundamentally to meet the resource needs of programs that support low-income families by merely continuing last year’s inadequate funding levels—the lowest in a decade, adjusted for inflation—for all annually appropriated federal programs.

This marks an ominous start to the fiscal year for crucial services, such as child care, education, job training, and health care, that can help hard-working poor and low-income people lift themselves and their families to economic security. And while this short-term fix averted the disruption and severe consequences of an immediate government shutdown, it simply postpones the crucial decisions on funding for key priorities—setting the stage for yet another shutdown stand-off when the CR expires on December 11, 2015.

#StopTheCuts Blog Carnival! Families & the Federal Budget

Take Action!

Our nation and our Congress has some momentous decisions to make in the coming weeks. Will we balance our nation’s budget on the backs of working families, which hurts our economy in the long-run, or will we instead end tax breaks for billionaires? Budget cuts proposed by the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate are extremely concerning. Indeed, this past Spring, both the U.S. House and Senate passed budgets that generated two-thirds of their cuts from programs that assist low- and moderate-income people including block granting CHIP and Medicaid, making $125 billion in cuts to SNAP, and additional cuts to Pell Grants, K-12 education, and child nutrition.  These awful budgets are their vision for the next decade, and it’s a vision that is bad for families and bad for our economy as a whole.

 

#StoptheCuts so we can #endhungernow

Earlier this month, the Food Research and Action Center shared a comprehensive plan of action to end hunger in America. This plan lists clear steps that our nation can take to achieve this goal, but it most certainly cannot be done unless Congress #stopsthecuts and starts to invest in proven programs.

Preserve tax credits so struggling families can do more than just survive

Since joining RESULTS earlier this year, I’ve learned to understand the power of my own voice. If speak up and demand change — and if other ordinary people do the same — our elected representatives will listen. That’s why advocacy is such an incredible force. It has the capacity to transform policy and impact the lives of millions of people.  I wrote the op-ed below for the News and Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina, where I now live, and it was published this month. I want to see the end of poverty in my state and all over the country. I’m raising my voice for change, and I won’t give up until we get it.

It’s a cold December day in 2007, and downtown Jamaica Queens, N.Y., is decorated for the season. Big and beautiful wreaths hang from post to post. I stand in line hoping to be the first of the few inside before the building becomes unbelievably packed.

Giving all families a chance at healthy lives

Some of the most burdensome health conditions our communities and families face can be prevented. Yes, it is easier said than done, but we must take action when more than half of all adults in the U.S. have a chronic health disease and 7 in 10 adult deaths are caused by ones such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.

 

These diseases are common, costly, and often preventable. Through healthy lifestyles and access to quality health care, chronic diseases can affect fewer individuals and families in all communities. Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (AAs and NHPIs) are disproportionately affected by chronic conditions due to gaping health disparities between racial groups. Cancer, for example, is the leading cause of death for Asian Americans, and NHPIs have rates of diabetes that are nearly double the rates of white Americans.

 

An Open Letter to Women Nationwide

Dear women nationwide,

My name is Randi Schmidt. I am a child advocate who is writing to every woman who, as a child, lived through economic hardships such as hunger, a parent losing their job, falling ill or dying, or whose family struggled to get by paycheck-to-paycheck. I ask you to remember who and what helped you when you were young and to speak out for the solutions that can help give all of our nation’s children the best opportunities today and for their future.

Six Things You Should Know About the Debt Ceiling

1. We don’t have much time.

The debt ceiling is the legal limit set by Congress on the total amount that the U.S. Treasury can borrow. The U.S. is expected to reach the debt ceiling in just 18 days, on November 3. That’s two days sooner than earlier estimates from the U.S. Treasury.

2. The stakes are incredibly high.

If Congress doesn’t raise the debt ceiling soon, it could spell major problems for government functions as bills begin to go unpaid: everything from Social Security to national security would be on the line.

3. There goes the economy.

Not raising the debt ceiling can have serious long-term consequences such as rising interest rates, a suffering stock market, and threatening jobs and savings – not to mention possibly hurting the country’s credit rating and world standing.

4. We’re out of alternatives.

Congress: Stop Scaring Us

The clock is ticking. Soon after Halloween, the federal government will reach its limit on borrowing. That means the U.S. would not be able to meet all its obligations – payments to bondholders and everything government does, from Social Security checks to federal worker pay to Medicare and Medicaid bills.

Tell Congress: Don’t scare us – get to work! Increase the debt limit and #StopTheCuts.

There are several ways to tell them. Send an email. Add your Tweet to a Twitterstorm on October 21. Post a blog (check out MomsRising’s blog next Wednesday morning for a #StoptheCuts Blog Carnival that the Coalition on Human Needs is cosponsoring). You can even pick up the phone (Call the Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121, and ask for your Rep. or Senators).

Are you at a threshold, too?

Yesterday we attended a moving "Ceremony of 13" at our church for my teenage son. Cultures around the world share a tradition of marking the transition from childhood to adulthood beginning at age 13 (in the Jewish tradition this is called a Bar or Bat Mitzvah). Our ministers shared why it's key to pause and honor this threshold or "crossing over" with ritual--just like we honor other thresholds such as baptisms, births, weddings, deaths, turning 18 and more.

After each youngadult received a blessing and anointing, parents took turns sharing what they loved and honored in their young teens. It was powerful and moving.

Tears streamed down my face for most of the short ceremony and it dawned on me that my 13 year-old and I are at a very similar place. I'll be 50 in January and I too, am at a threshold. My midlife transition has amped up in the last 18 months--physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually-- and just like my son, I too am at an axial time. A time that calls for more self-compassion, self-acceptance and time/space to digest and integrate all these internal--and external--changes so I can prepare for my second course.

Another International Women's Day - It's Time

 

Another year, another International Women's Day. But this year feels different. Suddenly gender equality in the United States is a front burner issue. In fact, women's economic empowerment is recognized as central to how we address both income inequality and economic sustainability.  Gender issues stand at that sweet spot: offering both political and financial solutions. Policy makers, companies, and the media are taking notice.

 

Today, 40 percent of American households look to a woman's income for financial security. Studies show women in the workforce are a key to profitability. Social and mainstream media do the gender calculus on virtually every story. 

 

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