New Budget Targets Most Vulnerable Children

February 25, 2020

Last week, the Trump administration released its 2021 fiscal year budget, slashing billions of dollars in federal funding for food, education and healthcare. Although Congress has largely denied the administration’s past budget cuts, this new plan signals the president’s policy priorities which clearly ignore the health and wellbeing of children.

The Health and Human Services budget includes enormous reductions to multiple programs that provide critical access to healthcare and benefits to our nation’s children. Most notably, the administration aims to slash Medicaid spending by $920 billion over the next decade, including reductions in the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Given that Medicaid covers nearly 40% of children in the U.S., cutting this program would have a devastating effect on the wellbeing of millions of students. At a time when one in four children have chronic physical or mental health issues that affect their ability to succeed in the classroom, it is critical that we are investing in the essential role that schools provide in supporting health and learning.

Under the proposed budget, the Department of Education funding would shrink by nearly 8 percent, a decrease of $5.6 billion. This marks the fourth consecutive year that the Trump administration has made efforts to reduce federal education funding. By consolidating several major programs—including Title I which provides aid for low-income students and Title IV which promotes the health and wellbeing of students-the government would no longer guarantee designated federal funding for these essential programs.

Additionally, funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) would be cut by $15 billion next year and by $200 billion over the next decade. Low-income families rely on SNAP as a critical support system to access the food they need. Educators can readily attest to the effects of inadequate nutrition on a student’s performance and behavior in school.

If adopted, this budget would have far-reaching negative consequences for our nation’s most vulnerable children. At Healthy Schools Campaign, we will continue to work to protect student health and wellness through our national, state and local policy work.