Monday, February 27, 2006

Sign-On Letter: Oppose Cuts to Human Needs

This message comes to us from the Coalition on Human Needs. The sign-on letter is for organizations only, but a link is provided to help you write an individual letter. Note that the little envelope thingie at the bottom of the post will allow you to email this post to others on your mailing list.


Sign-On Letter Opposing Budget Cuts to Human Needs Programs

**Please forward to your networks and friends**

The Coalition on Human Needs invites state, local and national organizations around the country to sign the letter at the bottom of this email to tell Congress that our nation's priorities as expressed in the federal budget are profoundly misdirected. We hope this effort is even more successful than the budget sign-on letter we circulated last year, which attracted around 800 signatures from every state and received considerable attention on Capitol Hill and in the press.

Click here for a PDF version of the CHN Federal Budget Letter: [shortened link]
Click here if your organization would like to sign the letter: [shortened link]

Please note that the deadline for signing the letter is Monday, March 13.

This letter is only for organizations to sign. But you can still help even if you're not affiliated with an organization! Click here to send an easy-to-use email to Congress opposing budget cuts in human needs programs:


February 24, 2006

Dear (member of Congress):

The undersigned organizations are writing to let you know of our deep concern over misdirected priorities in the federal budget. Both the budget decisions for the current year (FY 2006) and the President’s proposal for FY 2007 consistently shortchange investments in education, child care and other work supports, training and community development that can help provide opportunities for shared prosperity. Cuts in health care, nutrition, services to prevent abuse and neglect, Social Security, and housing jeopardize basic health and economic security for millions. We urge your leadership to commit our resources towards protecting and enhancing opportunity and security for all Americans – the most responsible and effective strategy for a strong economy that works for all of us.

These cuts are neither necessary nor wise. They will simply pay part of the cost of unaffordable tax cuts that overwhelmingly benefit the top income groups. We seek your leadership in opposing budget choices that are wrong – for burdening states and localities with billions in cuts, for the harm they do to vulnerable people and to our capacity for economic growth shared by all.

Please oppose cuts in annually appropriated services. As the Budget Committee drafts its FY 2007 Budget Resolution, we urge you to call upon the Budget Committee and House/Senate leadership to include funding levels that at the very least will allow the current level of services in non-defense domestic programs. The President’s FY 2007 budget proposal cuts domestic discretionary programs by more than $16 billion, or 4.1 percent below the cost of today’s services, including cuts in funding to educate our children, provide food to low-income seniors and housing for people with disabilities. This is unacceptable.

We know that the Budget Resolution will simply include a total number for discretionary programs, with the details to be worked out later by appropriators. We also understand that totals similar to the President’s will inescapably result in cuts to services that meet human needs. These cuts will compound the harm caused by prior years of service reductions. The Budget Resolution must include totals high enough to prevent or reverse such cutbacks and to address areas of growing need. Further, we believe it is irresponsible to set binding caps on annually appropriated programs that do not allow for inflation or population growth. The President’s budget sets caps that shrink programs more each year, with a 4 percent cut in 2007 tripling to a 13 percent cut in 2011.

We recognize that if the Budget Resolution sets totals insufficient to meet need, services like Head Start, housing, nutrition assistance, juvenile justice, and job training will be cut. Please do all in your power to oppose domestic discretionary totals as low as the President’s.

Please oppose cuts in mandatory programs that reduce access to medical care, nutrition assistance, child care, and other vital social services. As you know, the FY 2006 budget cut nearly $39 billion in Medicaid, student loans, abuse and neglect services, child support enforcement and other essential help for low-income people. The President’s budget includes more cuts that will hurt low-income people, reducing Social Security benefits in some circumstances, denying Food Stamps to 300,000 people in low-income working families, making further cuts in Medicaid, and a $36 billion cut in Medicare that is so large it is hard to believe it could be made without threatening needed care. We call upon you to oppose reductions in services or increased costs for people in need.

Please oppose further tax breaks that are not fully offset with other revenues. It is simply wrong to sacrifice our children’s education, health care and housing for the elderly and for people with disabilities, child care for working families, and many other commonsense services to help finance more than a trillion dollars in tax breaks. The budget should be an expression of our moral and practical priorities. Curtailing – not increasing – tax breaks heavily weighted towards the top one percent (those with annual incomes over $400,000) in order to invest in education, health care, or other services is the right thing to do. The President’s budget prevents such a responsible choice – allowing tax breaks to advance even though there is no money to pay for them, but requiring domestic spending increases to be offset by other spending cuts. It is time to call a halt to unaffordable tax cuts.

Just as we have come to understand the far-reaching consequences of federal budget choices on the lives of millions, Americans across our nation are watching and hoping that the public interest, not special interests, will be served in Congressional action on the budget for next year. We hope you will respond by taking the lead to oppose unnecessary and harmful budget and tax cuts.


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