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The recently approved House budget for the remainder of FY 2011 and the Presidential budget for FY 2012 both include plans to reduce or eliminate funding to vital safety net and social support programs that provide critical assistance to low-income women and families. Though social spending comprises only 14 percent of the overall federal budget and keeps nearly 15 million Americans out of poverty, Congress and the Obama administration are proposing deep cuts to social program spending that will have an uneven impact on economically-disadvantaged women and children, especially families of color.

Programs at risk of complete termination or significant reductions in federal funding include:

  • The Women, Infants, and Children Program (WIC), which provides prenatal and postpartum assistance to low-income, nutritionally at-risk women and children to improve maternal and child health outcomes
  • Title V Maternal and Child Health Block Grants, which support programs providing preventative health services to millions of families each year
  • Title X Family Planning Programs, which provide key reproductive health services for low-income women
  • The Child Care Development Block Grant, which provides subsidies to assist low-income families with the costs of child care
  • Funding for the implementation of the President’s healthcare reform bill, which lowers health care costs for women and prevents insurance companies from viewing women as a ‘pre-existing condition’
  • Women’s Educational Equity Grants, which promote gender-equity policies and practices at the local level, including equitable school-to-work transition programs

The message being sent by Congress and the Administration is clear: people and communities that are struggling will be forced to bear the overwhelming burden of the budget cuts. These cuts come at a time when unemployment, particularly long-term unemployment, remains high and communities are still struggling to recover from the recession. While short-term cuts to critical programs may help reduce the nation’s deficit today, the proposed reductions will force women, especially single mothers of color, into deeper economic insecurity in the long-run.

Learn more about the cuts in a recently released policy brief by the Women of Color Policy Network at NYU Wagner. The brief offers a comparative analysis of the proposed spending cuts in the House and President’s budget, and highlights the need to invest in the long-term economic security of women and families, especially during a time of economic distress.

To access the policy brief, click here:

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