At 1,000 Days, we believe that children are the foundation of a country’s greatness. When young children thrive, so do nations. It is why we are deeply concerned by the Trump Administration’s proposal to slash funding for basic nutrition, health and anti-poverty programs that give children here in the U.S. and around the world a strong start to life. By cutting vital domestic safety net programs and foreign assistance, the Trump Administration will not only weaken America’s foundation, it will also put vulnerable children and their families in harm’s way.
It is troubling to see that the President’s budget takes aim at programs that many hardworking American families of young children rely on to make ends meet: the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (commonly known as food stamps or SNAP), the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). 1,000 Days is particularly concerned about cuts to SNAP because nearly HALF of families that participate in the program include at least one child under age 5. It is unconscionable that the Trump Administration would propose massive cuts to SNAP when nearly 1/3 of preschoolers in the U.S. rely on the program each month for their nutritional needs. We are also deeply troubled by the proposal to slash funding for Medicaid and CHIP which together serve the health care needs of almost HALF of all children under the age of 6 in the U.S. These programs are vital to ensuring that all kids in America have the opportunity to reach their full potential.
By proposing deep cuts to foreign assistance, the President’s budget will also hurt young children in some of the poorest countries throughout the world. Each year nearly 3 million children under age 5 die from malnutrition—a condition that is almost entirely preventable. The U.S. has been a leader in the fight against global malnutrition and America’s investments in life-saving programs to improve maternal and young child nutrition costs a fraction of a penny of every dollar spent by the U.S. government. There is little question that eliminating or scaling down U.S. global health, development and humanitarian efforts will cost lives and reverse more than a decade of progress against poverty and disease. These devastating cuts come at a time in which the world is facing severe famines and other humanitarian crises and when over 1 million children are at risk of dying from starvation.
The President’s budget proposal is not only mean-spirited, it is also short-sighted. It will fail to balance the federal budget and will actually cost more money in the long run as taxpayers contend with the sickness and suffering that cutting vital health and nutrition programs will create.
Americans deserve better than a federal budget that puts the health and well-being of young children and their families at risk. Congress must reject the President’s proposal and start over to build a budget that is worthy of our children and our true greatness as a nation.