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FRIDAY, APRIL 15, 2011
  • Mr. DAVIS of Illinois. Mr. Speaker, Forest Witcraft is reported to have said, ``A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove, but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.'' Children make up one-quarter of our population, and they form the foundation of our nation's future. Every parent hopes that their children will fare better than they did--achieve more, experience greater success, and realize the American Dream more fully. As policymakers, we have the ability and responsibility to provide a strong foundation for our youngest citizens to grow into the achievers and leaders of tomorrow.
  • Today, I introduce the Children's Budget Act. It is a bill that is simple in concept--require the President to provide a detailed account of all the Federal funding for children and children's programs. What funding do we actually spend on children? Are we properly addressing the national needs and problems confronting children? Accounting for Federal dollars in this way will help us understand how well we are making the health and well-being of our children a national priority.
  • Currently, even experienced policy analysts have a difficult time determining how much the government invests in children, and therefore how the needs of our children might better be addressed. A few independent groups--such as First Focus, the Brookings Institution, and the Urban Institute--have worked to understand the Federal investment in our children. It is only through their efforts that we have been able to comprehend how recent Federal funding choices have affected children. For example, the children's advocacy group First Focus recently commissioned a report by the Urban Institute to detail how Federal spending on children has changed over the past 45 years. The results of the Kids Share report were startling. In 1960, the children's share of Federal domestic spending--tax policies included--was 20.1 percent. In 2009, that share had declined to 14 percent--a 30.3 percent overall decline. Together, the Democratically- controlled 111th Congress and the President substantially increased funding for children by $25 billion. The President's FY11 Budget proposed important increases of $6.2 billion in children's spending. In contrast, the Republican FY12 Budget proposal would eliminate all gains from the last several years. To illustrate, the Ryan Budget would create a $150 billion funding gap in the Children's Health insurance program between 2014 and 2021, resulting in an 80 percent hole in the CHIP program and a loss of coverage for approximately 7 million children. Similarly, children bore 22 percent of the cuts in the second Continuing Resolution this year.
  • If children are a national priority, we need to measure our Federal spending so that we can understand if our choices disproportionately harm or protect our children. Without this analysis, policymakers and the public are limited in our ability to know how children fare in funding proposals. I strongly believe the Federal Government should embrace examining our Federal budget by our investment in children. Already, there are several State and local governments who produce a children's budget annually, including Louisiana, Ohio, the District of Columbia, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Oregon, and the Cities of Philadelphia and San Francisco. These budgets provide invaluable sources of information that help us understand whether we are meeting our goals for children. Precedent already exists for examining the Federal budget based on key areas of interest, including spending on programs related to homeland security, meteorology, climate, and drug control. By creating a children's budget at the Federal level, we can bring a renewed attention to children's issues and programs and guarantee a fair look at our national investment priorities.
  • A Children's Budget is critical now more than ever, with so many of our children and youth bearing the brunt of our Nation's economic hardship. In 2009, 20.7 percent of children and 23.8 percent of children under age 6 lived below the poverty line in our Nation. My Congressional District--the Seventh District of Illinois--had a staggering 35.5 percent poverty rate among children in 2009. These statistics reflect the need for a children's budget so that policymakers and voters understand whether our investments match the needs of our Nation's youngest citizens.
  • As our Nation continues to face difficult economic times, we should be able to answer the fundamental question ``Is it good for the children?'' The Children's Budget Act would ensure that children are given due consideration whenever the budget is discussed and would provide policymakers, program administrators, and parents with a clear picture of the overall Federal investment in our children. Careful analysis of our spending today helps us improve our efforts for tomorrow. The well-being of our children should be at the top of our national agenda. I hope my colleagues will join me in sponsoring this important legislation.

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    Comments (optional)
    repName Danny K. Davis  
    helpWithFedAgencyAddress Chicago District Office
    2813-15 W. Fifth Avenue
    Chicago, Illinois 60612
    district 7th District of Illinois  
    academyUSCitizenDate July 1, 2017  
    academyAgeDate July 1, 2017  
    academyApplicationDueDate October 20, 2017  
    repStateABBR IL  
    repDistrict 7  
    repState Illinois  
    repDistrictText 7th  
    SponsoredBills Sponsored Bills  
    CoSponsoredBills Co-Sponsored Bills  
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