Faithfully Engaging in the Budget Debate -- May 26, 2011


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DHN Budget Webinar from May 26, 2011.

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Faithfully Engaging in the Budget Debate -- May 26, 2011

  1. 2. John S. Hill <ul><li>Director, Economic Justice Work Area </li></ul><ul><li>United Methodist Church - General Board of Church and Society </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>Welcome and Introduction
  2. 5. Available for Download from:
  3. 7. Joan Huffer <ul><li>Director, Federal Budget Initiative </li></ul><ul><li>Center on Budget and Policy Priorities </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>
  4. 9. Amelia Kegan <ul><li>Policy Analyst </li></ul><ul><li>Bread for the World </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>
  5. 10. Spending Cuts and People Living in Hunger and Homelessness <ul><li>We cannot end hunger or homelessness without the federal government playing a role </li></ul><ul><li>During the recession, poverty and hunger hit record rates. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>43.6 million people in poverty in 2009 (largest number in the 51 years for which poverty estimates are available) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Double digit unemployment rates </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Need for services spiked. Programs responded. Food insecurity did not rise. </li></ul>
  6. 11. What does a cap on overall federal spending look like for people living in hunger and homelessness? Congress would have to implement the Ryan budget to achieve the necessary level of cuts.
  7. 12. What does a cap on overall federal spending look like? <ul><li>Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Provides food, nutritional counseling, and health care referrals to low-income pregnant women, postpartum women and children under the age of five . </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Serves about 9 million people </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>One of the most successful and cost-effective nutrition intervention programs in the country. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Cut by over $800 million. </li></ul><ul><li>Would end benefits for 325,000 – 475,000 low-income women and children (depending on food prices and other factors) </li></ul>
  8. 13. What does a cap on overall federal spending look like? <ul><li>Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Serves 43 million low-income individuals </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Average benefit is $133.80 a month, or $4.46 a day , for each household member </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Cut by $127 billion, or nearly 20%, over 10 years </li></ul><ul><li>Fewer people eligible and/or lower benefits </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Over 8 million people would lose benefits </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Family of 4 would see their benefits cut by $147 a month, or $1,764 a year </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Block grant so can ’t respond to spikes in need </li></ul>
  9. 14. What does a cap on overall federal spending look like? <ul><li>Federal Housing Assistance Programs: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>4.9 million households using federal rental assistance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Average yearly income $12,500 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Cut by nearly 12% in 2012 and 18% by 2021 </li></ul><ul><li>Total loss of $75 billion over the next 10 years to housing assistance programs </li></ul>
  10. 15. What does a cap on overall federal spending look like? <ul><li>Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Serves 290,000 low-income seniors, people with disabilities, and families with children </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cut by $2 billion in 2012 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Homeless assistance </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cut by over $200 million in 2012 and by $3.4 billion over 10 years </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Public Housing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Provides homes for 2.3 million low-income individuals </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Currently, only 1 in 4 households eligible for public housing receive any form of housing assistance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cut by over $800 million in 2012 and by over $12 billion over 10 years </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Already, 10,000 public housing units currently lost every year because of deteriorated conditions. </li></ul></ul>
  11. 17. Amelia Kegan <ul><li>Policy Analyst </li></ul><ul><li>Bread for the World </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>
  12. 18. What does a cap on overall federal spending look like for older adults? Congress would have to implement the Ryan budget to achieve the necessary level of cuts.
  13. 19. What does a cap on overall federal spending look like? <ul><li>Medicaid </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Provides health coverage to nearly 60 million Americans. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Main source of long-term care for seniors and people with disabilities. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Primary payer for 64% of nursing home residents. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Cut by $1.4 trillion over 10 years </li></ul><ul><li>Cut federal funding by 35% in 2022 and 49% in 2030 </li></ul><ul><li>Converts into a block grant and prevents Medicaid from responding to spikes in need . </li></ul>
  14. 20. <ul><li>Medicare </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Total household income of typical beneficiary was $22,800 a year in 2006 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Cut by $30 billion over 10 years with much deeper cuts after that </li></ul><ul><li>Turned into a voucher program </li></ul><ul><li>Shifts more of cost of health care onto individuals </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Typical 65 year-old would see out-of-pocket costs rise from $6,150 to $12,500 in 2022. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Increases total health care spending for Medicare beneficiaries by 40%. </li></ul>What does a cap on overall Federal spending look like?
  15. 21. What does a cap on overall Federal spending look like? <ul><li>Social Security </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lifted 13.9 million people aged 65 and older out of poverty in 2009 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Virtually the only source of income for 3 in 10 female beneficiaries 65 and older </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Average benefit for women 65 and older is about $12,000 per year </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Cut between $904 billion and $1.3 trillion over the next 10 years (between 14% and 19%). </li></ul><ul><li>A 19% cut could mean an elderly woman receiving average benefit would see her benefits drop to $9,720 per year </li></ul>
  16. 23. Jessica Roach <ul><li>Policy Associate </li></ul><ul><li>American Friends Service Committee </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>
  17. 24. Spending Cuts & Children <ul><li>We cannot leave our children a legacy of rising debt… </li></ul><ul><li>… but neither can we leave them a legacy of rising poverty. </li></ul>
  18. 25. Spending Cuts & Children <ul><li>More than twenty percent of all children in the U.S. live in poverty. </li></ul><ul><li>The official poverty line </li></ul><ul><li>for a family of four is </li></ul><ul><li>$21,947 </li></ul>
  19. 26. Spending Cuts & Children <ul><li>The Health and Human Services budget projected to decline by more than 15% from 2010 levels. </li></ul><ul><li>This includes programs like Head Start and the Childcare Development Block Grant. </li></ul><ul><li>These programs are strapped right now – Head Start is only able to serve 40 percent of all eligible families. </li></ul>
  20. 27. Spending Cuts & Children <ul><li>Children make up about half of all Medicaid enrollees. </li></ul><ul><li>The Ryan budget turns Medicaid into a block grant and cuts funding by more than 20 percent. </li></ul><ul><li>By design, funding would grow more slowly than health care costs, shifting the burden of growing shortfalls to states. </li></ul><ul><li>According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Ryan budget would reduce federal Medicaid funding by 35 percent in 2022 and by 49 percent in 2030. </li></ul>
  21. 28. Spending Cuts & Children <ul><li>Key programs that keep children from going hungry are at risk. </li></ul><ul><li>Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides infant formula and nutritional support for 9 million low-income pregnant and postpartum women, infants, and children under age five who are at nutritional risk. </li></ul><ul><li>Proposed 2012 Appropriations under the Ryan budget would cut the WIC budget by 12%, turning away between 325,000 to 475,000 eligible women and young children next year. </li></ul><ul><li>Three-quarters of all Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients are households with children. But under the 2012 Ryan budget, SNAP would shift from a program that is responsive to the ebb and flow of the economy to a block grant to states. That grant would face cuts of $127 billion over the next decade. </li></ul>
  22. 29. Spending Cuts & Children <ul><li>In the 90 ’s, when welfare reform “end[ed] welfare as we know it,” Aid to Families with Dependent Children was replaced with a Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) block grant. </li></ul><ul><li>Federal funding has not kept up with need in the recent recession, and states have been slashing benefits as a result. </li></ul><ul><li>In 1994-1995, just before TANF ’s creation, AFDC served 75 eligible families for every 100 families with children who lived in poverty. In 2008-2009, TANF served only 28 families for every 100 in poverty. </li></ul>
  23. 30. Giving Care to the Caregivers
  24. 31. Leslie Woods <ul><li>Representative for Domestic Poverty & Environmental Issues </li></ul><ul><li>Office of Public Witness, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>
  25. 32. Women in the Economy <ul><li>Women in the U.S. are more likely to be poor than men. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>13.8% of women are poor compared to 11.1% of men. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Data aggregated by race shows that racial-ethnic women are not only more likely to be poor than the national average , but also more likely to be poor than men in their own racial-ethnic group. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>26.5% African-American women, compared to 22.3% of men. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>23.6% of Latina women, compared to 19.6% of Latino men. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Black and Latina women are more than twice as likely to be living in poverty as white women . </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>About a quarter of adult women with incomes below the poverty line are single mothers . </li></ul><ul><li>Older Adult Women are much more likely to be poor than older adult men – 13% compared to 6%. </li></ul>
  26. 33. Women in the Economy <ul><li>Women earn only about 77 cents to every dollar earned by a male counterpart in the workforce – known as the wage gap. </li></ul><ul><li>Women are segregated into “pink-collar”, low-paying occupations, such as teaching, child care, nursing and other health care occupations, cleaning and waitressing. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In 2007, 43% of employed women were clustered into just 20 occupational categories, whose annual median earnings were $27,383 . </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Women spend more time providing unpaid caregiving than men, both for children and older adults. </li></ul><ul><li>Women are not only disproportionately served by programs that are under threat, but they are also disproportionately employed by them . When these services and programs are cut , not only do women lose services, but they lose jobs . </li></ul>
  27. 34. Women and Medicaid <ul><ul><li>Women aged 18-64 make up three-quarters of adult beneficiaries (17 million women). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Over 4 million women, half of all women with disabilities , rely on Medicaid for access to health coverage. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Medicaid is an essential source of family planning services and maternity care , and covers 40 percent of births in the U.S. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Older women also rely heavily on Medicaid – 20 percent of female beneficiaries are over the age of 65 . These women usually rely on Medicaid coverage for help managing a disability or chronic condition, treatment for cancer, long-term services such as nursing home stays, and Medicare cost-sharing. </li></ul></ul>
  28. 35. Women and Medicaid <ul><li>The House-passed budget threatens these services by turning Medicaid into a block grant. </li></ul><ul><li>Fundamentally altering Medicaid would leave many women facing increased costs , decreased coverage, or losing their health coverage altogether. </li></ul><ul><li>Because women tend to be primary caregivers of children and older adults in their families, reducing access to care for those populations would also profoundly affect women. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The same proposals that threaten coverage for women also jeopardize coverage for children and older adults in general. </li></ul></ul>
  29. 36. Women and Medicare <ul><li>Medicare is the federal health insurance program that provides basic health care services for 47 million older adults and people living with disabilities. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>56 % of Medicare beneficiaries are women . </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>62 % of Medicare beneficiaries are women over the age of 80. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Because they tend to be poorer, live longer, and have more health care needs than men, Medicare is particularly important to women. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In 2009, 43% of female Medicare beneficiaries were living in or near poverty , compared with 32% of men. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The average annual Social Security benefit for a woman over the age of 65 is $12,000. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Because of their low incomes, 70% of people who receive both Medicare and Medicaid are women . </li></ul></ul>
  30. 37. Women and Medicare <ul><li>The House-passed budget threatens the Medicare safety net for older adults by replacing the federal insurance program with a voucher system. </li></ul><ul><li>Total out-of-pocket Medicare costs would more than double under this plan – from an average of $6,150 to an average of $12,500 annually. </li></ul><ul><li>The value of the voucher would not grow at the same rate as health care costs, making it less valuable with each year . </li></ul><ul><li>Women would be particularly vulnerable to these cost increases because they are disproportionately likely to have incomes at or below 200% of the federal poverty level . </li></ul>
  31. 38. Women and Relationship Violence <ul><li>Nearly one in four adult women experience at least one physical assault by a partner in her lifetime. </li></ul><ul><li>The Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA) was the first U.S. legislation to acknowledge domestic violence as a crime and it provided resources for combating such violence. </li></ul><ul><li>The Family Violence Prevention and Services Act of 1984 (FVPSA) is the single largest funding source for emergency services for domestic violence victims and their children. </li></ul><ul><li>Both of these bills require reauthorization, and both bills are funded with discretionary spending . </li></ul><ul><li>Indiscriminately cutting discretionary funding, that in some cases are already unable to meet current need, would have a severe impact on the services available to women and children experiencing violence. </li></ul>
  32. 39. Women and the Safety Net <ul><li>Women are disproportionately likely to be poor, and therefore rely disproportionately on safety net programs (and are more likely to be employed by them). </li></ul><ul><li>Mandatory programs benefiting women: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In addition to Medicaid and Medicare, SNAP (formerly Food Stamps), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and Pell grants would all face steep cuts under a global spending cap. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Discretionary programs benefiting women: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In addition to domestic violence prevention and response programs, Child care, Head Start, public education, job training programs, housing and energy assistance, WIC and other nutrition programs, health clinics, and other vital health services for women would be on the chopping block. </li></ul></ul>
  33. 41. Jessica Roach <ul><li>Policy Associate </li></ul><ul><li>American Friends Service Committee </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>
  34. 42. Spending Cuts & the Unemployed <ul><li>“ Speak up, judge righteously, champion the poor and the needy .” (Proverbs 31.9) </li></ul>
  35. 43. Spending Cuts & the Unemployed: Dignity <ul><li>unemployment rate is 9% </li></ul><ul><li>millions of families are struggling to meet their most basic needs - we cannot neglect the very programs which allow these families to live in dignity. </li></ul><ul><li>Ryan budget cuts deeply into important safety net programs, such as health care and nutritional assistance, on which millions of Americans, including families of the unemployed, rely to meet their most basic needs </li></ul>
  36. 44. Spending Cuts & the Unemployed: Opportunity <ul><li>13.7 million people who are looking for work are unable to find it. (If we counted the number of people who have given up and stopped looking, that number would be much higher.) </li></ul><ul><li>Ryan budget cuts 2.2 million jobs over the next two years (Economic Policy Institute). </li></ul><ul><li>Big cuts to job training programs, education, and research and development, will reduce national economic growth and global competitiveness, further slowing job growth. </li></ul>
  37. 45. Spending Cuts & the Unemployed: Hope for Recovery <ul><li>caps and triggers would reduce our capacity to address high rates of unemployment with increased assistance and economic stimulus. </li></ul><ul><li>Federal programs like unemployment insurance, food stamps, and Medicaid are specifically designed to allow enrollment to expand automatically during an economic downturn, when the need for these supports grows even as GDP falls. </li></ul><ul><li>But a cap is typically tied to GDP so that in a recession, when GDP shrinks, our ability to respond by expanding human needs programs would also shrink, even as demand for assistance expands. </li></ul><ul><li>These programs put money back into local communities quickly, stimulating recovery. Without them, our recessions will look even worse. </li></ul>
  38. 47. Jessica Roach <ul><li>Policy Associate </li></ul><ul><li>American Friends Service Committee </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>
  39. 48. What You Can Do <ul><li>Get the message out to decision-makers: </li></ul><ul><li>Oppose arbitrary spending caps that would undermine our ability to meet the needs of low-income individuals and families. </li></ul><ul><li>Any deficit reduction targets and enforcement mechanisms must be thoughtfully constructed to protect services for low-income and vulnerable populations. </li></ul><ul><li>Congress should consider both revenue and cuts to military spending as part of any deficit reduction plan. </li></ul>
  40. 49. What You Can Do <ul><li>Meet with your Senators </li></ul><ul><li>Call your Senators and Representatives </li></ul><ul><li>Send Letters t the Editor </li></ul>
  41. 50. What You Can Do: Meet with Senators <ul><li>Why meet with your Senator: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Personal visits are most effective. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Constituents (you!) matter most. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Meet them at home. Recess is coming up May 30-Jun 3. (Next one July 4-8) </li></ul></ul>
  42. 51. What You Can Do: Meet with Senators <ul><li>Before the meeting: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Gather a team. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Make an appointment. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do your research. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Prepare! </li></ul></ul>
  43. 52. What You Can Do: Meet with Senators <ul><li>The meeting: </li></ul><ul><li>Make clear who you are and who you represent. </li></ul><ul><li>Be concise and direct – make a clear ask. </li></ul><ul><li>It ’s OK if you don’t know everything. </li></ul><ul><li>Follow up! </li></ul>
  44. 53. Ben D ’Avanzo <ul><li>Mimi Meehan Fellow </li></ul><ul><li>Bread for the World </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>
  45. 54. Calling your Senators <ul><li>1) Call the Capitol Switchboard (202-224-3121) and ask for your Senator ’s office or look up the number on their website. </li></ul>2) Ask whoever picks up, usually an intern or receptionist, to speak to the staffer who works on budget issues. Note that some offices first require you to navigate a menu system before speaking to a live person. <ul><li>You may be asked who you are, so be sure to identify yourself as a constituent who wants to discuss budget policy. </li></ul><ul><li>Sometimes the receptionist may indicate that you have to leave your comments with them. Do so, but you can still ask for the name and contact information of the specific staffer for follow-up. </li></ul>
  46. 55. 3) Tell the staffer who you are, what town you live in and what organization or denomination you are with. <ul><li>Explain that you are calling about the budget and debt negotiations </li></ul><ul><li>Share your personal story. How have federal programs helped you, your friends and family, and those you work with? </li></ul><ul><li>Emphasize that spending caps or poorly designed triggers may have devastating consequences for many families and communities that are served by critical federal programs. </li></ul>4) Follow up with a thank you email and continue to keep in touch with the staffer as negotiations go forward. <ul><li>Tips: </li></ul><ul><li>Be polite, clear and try to stay under 5 minutes. </li></ul><ul><li>Provide your contact information so they may follow up with you later. </li></ul><ul><li>Thank them for taking the time to speak with you </li></ul>
  47. 56. Leslie Woods <ul><li>Representative for Domestic Poverty & Environmental Issues </li></ul><ul><li>Office of Public Witness, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>
  48. 57. Letters to the Editor <ul><li>The Basics of writing an LTE: </li></ul><ul><li>Elected Officials monitor media outlets in their home state / district. Mention your Representative or Senator ’s name to make sure you get his/her attention. </li></ul><ul><li>LTEs should be 100-200 words. </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on a single issue. </li></ul><ul><li>If your opinion represents others, make sure to mention it. </li></ul><ul><li>Include your name, address and phone number at the end. </li></ul>
  49. 58. Letters to the Editor <ul><li>Choosing your Media Outlet: </li></ul><ul><li>Submit your letter to a local or regional media outlet for a better chance at publication. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Highlight the local impact of the policy about which you are writing. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Also consider other outlets, such as neighborhood papers, specialized magazines, ethnic press, religious press, and alumni magazines. </li></ul><ul><li>Use an online submission form, if available. </li></ul>
  50. 59. Letters to the Editor <ul><li>Basic Structure of an LTE: </li></ul><ul><li>First Paragraph </li></ul><ul><ul><li>State main point and why it is important to you (local impact). </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Second Paragraph </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide facts, quotes, and statistics to support your argument. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Third Paragraph </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Restate your point and make your “ask”. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mention your elected official by name and the specific action you want him/her to take. </li></ul></ul>
  51. 60. What You Can Do <ul><li>Check out some of these resources: </li></ul><ul><li>DHN ’s Budget Resource Page </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>
  52. 61. To follow up: <ul><li>If you would like to contact any of today ’s presenters or follow up with our group, please contact John Hill at: </li></ul><ul><li>202-488-5654 or [email_address] </li></ul>
  53. 62. Jonathan Backer <ul><li>Eisendrath Legislative Assistant </li></ul><ul><li>Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>