Oppose the Subcommittee on Labor-HHS-Education’s FY 2013 Budget Proposal
Advocacy Letter - 07/18/12
Source: The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
Recipient: House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education
Dear Member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education:
On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition charged by its diverse membership of over 210 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States, we urge you to vote against the Chairman’s FY 2013 appropriations bill because it is partisan and divisive and would bring pain and suffering to millions of Americans who rely on programs under this bill for their health, safety, educational opportunities, and economic security.
The bill adheres to the partisan Ryan budget but it offers no new solutions to persistent problems facing our nation. The drastic cuts proposed in the bill will devastate critical programs including: health care and prevention, public school improvement, and job training. In addition, its many riders would thwart decades of progress by rolling back health, safety, wage, and other protections for workers.
In a time of economic hardship, with millions of Americans unemployed, underemployed, and struggling to support their families, it is imperative that we invest in our workforce. However, the subcommittee’s budget proposal takes the opposite approach and seeks to prohibit minimum wage and overtime requirements for home health care workers, restrict project labor agreements on Labor Department projects, recuse employers from providing workers with injury and illness prevention plans, and rollback protections for miners against black lung, the disease that afflicts coal miners exposed to excessive mine dust. The Leadership Conference believes the workplace rights of employees are civil and human rights and this plan undervalues American workers and strongly favors employers over workers.
Rather than working to ensure the health and well being of all Americans, the Chairman’s proposal instead suggests eliminating grants that fund key programs in preventative care, family planning, Medicare and Medicaid service centers, and providing services for substance abuse and mental illness. At its core, this budget proposal is yet another attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which has already helped millions of Americans afford health insurance and receive the care they need.
Finally, the bill would slash funds for K–12 education at a time when the need to implement college and career-ready standards, retain good teachers, turn around low-performing schools, and close achievement gaps is more urgent than ever. The bill would eliminate effective programs promoting innovation, improvement, and equitable access to Advanced Placement classes. By proposing to continue to level-fund Title I, the bill would force high-poverty schools to reduce services and support to students. The proposal shows a callous disregard for students’ well-being by eliminating funding for school counselors and by rejecting the President’s request to consolidate programs and fund a new Successful, Safe and Healthy Students program. The Chairman’s mark will lead to additional teen pregnancies as it proposes to eliminate funding for family planning and teen pregnancy prevention, while increasing funding for abstinence-only education programs, which are ineffective in preventing pregnancy or the spread of sexually-transmitted diseases.
At the higher education level, the bill would block enforcement of important provisions of federal law protecting students from predatory and unscrupulous practices in career-education sector. Enforcement of these provisions is especially important as more and more students take on high levels of debt to finance their educations only to find that they are unable to obtain jobs enabling them to pay back their loans and earn a living wage.
We urge the subcommittee to reject this bill and to pursue a bipartisan bill that meets human needs. Please direct any questions or comments to Dianne Piche, senior counsel, at Piche@civilrights.org or 202-466-3311 or Lexer Quamie, counsel, at Quamie@civilrights.org or 202-466-3648.
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