Federal budget bill slashes support for working families

Arkansas Congressional leaders head back to Washington this week as the federal budget battle enters its most critical phase. If leaders cannot reach a spending compromise on FY2011 budget (October 2010 – September 2011) by Friday, the federal government will be shut down until a compromise can be reached. To be clear, this is different than the debate over President Obama’s budget proposal. Congress will take up that debate as soon as they finalize a spending plan for the rest of this year.

The House of Representatives passed its version of a continuing resolution (CR – This is a measure to fund the government this year) before recess, leaving the Senate to tackle the measure when it reconvenes. Reports from Washington say that the Senate will create its own spending bill rather than taking up the House version, a bill that institutes sweeping arbitrary cuts to programs from education to food safety. The move means passing a final CR for FY2011 becomes increasingly unlikely.

The Senate is not expected to finalize its spending bill by Friday. House Speaker John Boehner (R – OH) says the House will pass a separate, short-term continuing resolution to fund the government for two weeks while both legislative bodies work on a funding bill for the remainder of the year. The Speaker announced that the short-term bill will introduce sweeping cuts, meaning that a budget impasse may still occur.

If no compromise on any of the spending bills can be reached by the end of the week, the federal government will be forced to shut down at midnight Friday. This means all non-essential employees will no longer be allowed to work. It means national parks from the Grand Canyon to Mount Rushmore will be closed to tourists. The shutdown also affects scientific research, ongoing criminal investigations, and almost every other non-security program administered by the federal government.

The spending measure offered by the House of Representatives forces reckless spending cuts that affect working families. Their bill drastically cuts child care and Head Start funding.  Their bill eliminates funding for state and local governments, affecting public education and public safety. These cuts would directly impact the lives of everyday Arkansans.

Please visit our partners at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities for a full explanation of just how the House bill slashes spending for working families.

Please contact Sen. Pryor and Sen. Boozman to ask them that they oppose the House continuing resolution. Ask them to take a balanced approach to these cuts, protecting the most vulnerable Arkansans first.

Senator Mark Pryor: (202) 224-2353

Senator John Boozman: (202) 224-4843