Civil and Human Rights Coalition Opposes Misguided 'Cut, Cap, and Balance Act'
July 19, 2011 - Posted by Ron Bigler
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is opposing legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives that would drastically cut vital social programs and undermine the nation's economy.
In a July 18 letter to House members, Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference, and Nancy Zirkin, executive vice president of The Leadership Conference, write that:
Even though H.R. 2560 [the "Cut, Cap, and Balance Act of 2011"] puts off the painful details until later, it is clear that it would require extreme and irresponsible cuts in federal spending. It would slash or eliminate many services that are needed by communities we represent, including people of color, young children, students, older Americans, women, the jobless, and the uninsured. With millions of families currently struggling in the face of unemployment and reduced income, H.R. 2560 would make things worse by requiring massive cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, education, emergency food assistance, and other necessities.
The letter also opposes efforts to link raising the nation's debt ceiling to passage of a balanced budget amendment:
At the same time, H.R. 2560 would hold hostage our nation’s long-term economic health by requiring, as a condition to any increase in the federal debt ceiling, that Congress send to the states one of several extreme versions of a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This draconian and unwise proposal would require the largest budget cuts precisely when the economy is at its weakest, tipping a struggling economy deep into recession and keeping it there for a protracted length of time. Indeed, by restricting federal spending to 18 percent of GDP (a level not seen since 1966), the proposed amendment would force cuts even more drastic than the Ryan budget, which reduces spending to approximately 20 percent each year.
Zirkin and Henderson urge House members to reject H.R. 2560 and focus on reaching a bipartisan compromise that will address the nation's financial needs and protect the interests of its most vulnerable populations