Federal Budget Update (FFY 2006) and Action Alert
Provided by: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), and America’s Second Harvest—The Nation’s Food Bank Network
With the President’s FY 2006 Budget proposals now public, action moves to Capitol Hill, where lawmakers reportedly are considering stringent reductions in domestic spending and structural changes to entitlement programs, including the nutrition programs.
Major decisions will likely be made in the next three weeks. The House and Senate Budget Committees are expected to “mark up” the budget resolution or “framework” for the year during the week of March 7th.
Between now and then it is critical to contact Members of Congress to oppose budget proposals that could harm millions of children, seniors and working families for years to come.
Below we briefly summarize the President’s Budget proposals and Congressional outlook and outline action steps to take now. Links to background information, talking points and a model letter are provided in the “Resources” section at the end of this memorandum.
Summary of President’s Budget and Congressional Outlook
The President's budget cuts for human services, when taken as a whole--and the specific additional steps being discussed by Congressional leaders--would harm many programs vital to America's families and children, leaving many children, parents and seniors hungrier and sicker.
While in most respects the President’s proposals would maintain the structure and funding for federal nutrition programs, he does seek: to limit states’ ability to get food stamps to certain low-income working families with children which are low income but not receiving cash welfare; to cap discretionary program spending, a change that, over time, would adversely affect the ability of the WIC Program, The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, meals programs funded through the Administration on Aging, and other nutrition programs to serve vulnerable people; and to eliminate the Community Food and Nutrition Program, which funds community-based services that help needy families obtain nutrition benefits they need.
Moreover, the President proposes larger cuts in other parts of the USDA budget, such as farm subsidies and crop insurance, which are likely to put nutrition program funding at risk if the Congressional Budget Resolution imposes “budget reconciliation” and directs the House and Senate Agriculture Committees to make deep cuts to programs within their jurisdiction. The Committees could substitute nutrition program cuts for other USDA program cuts. And, while not in the Administration budget, proposals to “cap” entitlement spending, including nutrition program spending, continue as live threats in Congress.
Message And Action Needed
Call Members of Congress 1) to oppose budget cuts in programs that serve low-income individuals, especially nutrition programs; and 2) to oppose any structural changes, such as spending caps or block grants, to the Food Stamp, Child Nutrition or other nutrition programs that would undermine their ability to respond in states and communities when needs increase. Oppose any efforts to subject the nutrition programs to any form of spending cap or block grants. The Capitol switch Board number is 202-225-3121.
Other Suggested Actions:
Arrange meetings during the President’s Holiday District Work Period when Members of Congress are home (week of February 21st).
Go to Capitol Hill on Tuesday, March 1st, in conjunction with the annual FRAC/America’s Second Harvest—The Nation’s Food Bank Network/National CACFP Forum policy conference in Washington DC. For details, including assistance making Hill appointments, contact mailto:[email protected].
Let us help you connect with farm and conservation groups to build on the momentum of the national nutrition, farm, and conservation coalition that warned USDA Secretary Mike Johanns that cuts or program structural changes could seriously undermine many nutrition, conservation, crop insurance and farm programs.
Continue your efforts to send individual organization or group sign-on letters to your members opposing cuts and/or spending caps in low-income programs, particularly food stamps and child nutrition.
Check FRAC’s web site section “Take Action—Budget Fight FY 2006” for updates, model letters, talking points, and congressional contact information; go to http://www.frac.org/Legislative/Budget_06/index.html
For “Analysis of President’s Food Stamp Proposal and Ag Committee Outlook,” go to http://frac.org/Legislative/Budget_06/Pres_Budget_Analysis.html
For talking points to use with Members of Congress and their staff, go to http://www.frac.org/Legislative/Budget_06/Talking_Points.html
For a model letter to send to Members of Congress, go to http://www.frac.org/Legislative/Budget_06/Model_SignOn_Letter.pdf
For “messages” nutrition and other human needs advocates are using, go to http://www.frac.org/Legislative/Budget_06/Talking_Points_Message.html
For a letter opposing USDA program cuts signed by more than 100 nutrition, farm and conservation groups, go to http://www.frac.org/Legislative/Budget_06/Coalition_Letter.pdf
For a letter from faith-based organizations supporting nutrition programs, go to http://www.frac.org/Legislative/Budget_06/FPWG_Letter.pdf
Feel free to contact staff of FRAC, the CBPP, or America’s Second Harvest—The Nation’s Food Bank Network for help in mounting actions in your state or other technical assistance. We would appreciate your feedback, including copies of letters or reports generated and any suggestions for further efforts.
We may be reached: CBPP, 202-408-1080 [email protected], [email protected] or FRAC, 202-986-2200; [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], American’s Second Harvest , 312-263-2303; mailto:[email protected], mailto:[email protected].