WASHINGTON (March 4, 2013) — The pending $85 billion in automatic spending cuts, known as the “sequester,” threatens the livelihood of communities of color and low-income communities, including struggling Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (AANHPI) nationwide who rely on federal education, health, housing, and social safety net programs.
The National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA), a coalition of 30 national Asian Pacific American organizations, urges Congress and the Administration to avoid the pending across-the-board cuts, which will take effect Friday, and seek a balanced approach to deficit reduction that encourages economic growth.
The cuts would have widespread impact on federally supported programs that have helped Americans recover after the recession. That is why sequestration should be avoided — cuts to such programs undermine the strides we have made to improve the economy.
Consider these impacts:
• One million jobs will be lost because of the cuts, and the AANHPI community is especially at risk. AANHPIs living in poverty increased by more than 450,000 from 2007 to 2010: an increase of more than 30 percent for Asian Americans and 40 percent for Native Hawaiians & Pacific Islanders compared with 21.5 percent for the national population. In addition, Asian Americans have been hit the hardest by long-term unemployment with more than 50 percent being out of work for longer than six months.
• Sequestration will scale back much-needed housing, community development, and small business initiatives, and will undermine the recovery effort in our communities. Reductions to critical initiatives like the Community Development Block Grant, the Native Hawaiian Block Grant, and the HOME programs will only exacerbate growing shortages of affordable housing. Up to 125,000 families will lose rental assistance this year, while 75,000 fewer households will receive foreclosure prevention, pre-purchase, rental, or other counseling though HUD housing counseling grants. Further, up to $900 million will be cut from small business loan guarantees in 2013 alone.
• Millions of students would be impacted by almost $3 billion in education cuts. For example, more than 295,000 low-income students in California, New York, Texas, and Virginia would lose access to programs that help children living in poverty. Other programs, including those for English Language Learners (ELL), are also on the chopping block.
• As for health, the cuts could not come at worse time. Major health initiatives, including the Affordable Care Act (ACA), are underway. The cuts would slash the ACA’s Prevention and Public Health Fund by approximately $76 million. In addition, cuts would impact federal agencies including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Office of Minority Health (OMH) agencies and offices that work to improve the nation’s health on a daily basis and seek to reduce racial and ethnic health disparities. The cuts also would slash funding by an estimated $837 million for health programs that promote the health of women and their children. The result would impair our government’s ability to best address health concerns of AANHPIs, who already suffer disproportionately from a number of chronic diseases and have lower rates of insurance.
The National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA), founded in 1996, is a coalition of thirty Asian Pacific American organizations around the country. NCAPA has released the 2012 Policy Platform: Framing Issues and Recommendations to Improve the Lives of Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Communities (available atwww.ncapaonline.org), which outlines key policy issues and recommendations.