Washington, D.C. (Dec. 2, 2011) — Last week, the Super Committee, a bi-partisan Congressional committee charged with reaching an agreement that would cut the federal deficit by $1.5 trillion, failed in its task to reach compromise. As a result, an automatic trigger is expected to take effect in January 2013, cutting $1.2 trillion from domestic and defense spending over ten years.
What does this mean for Southeast Asian Americans and the programs that impact our communities? First of all, the good news is that Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid, the Food Stamp program (also known as SNAP), Pell Grants, the Children’s Health Insurance Plan, Child Nutrition (which includes the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs), veterans’ benefits, federal employees’ retirement, and refundable tax credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit will not be affected by the automatic cuts.
In addition to cuts in defense spending, examples of departments that will experience cuts as a result of the automatic trigger include Border Patrol, the Justice Department, the IRS, Transportation Security Authority, Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Bureau of Prisons.
However, this does not mean that the fight for programs that we care about is over. Over the course of the Super Committee’s discussions, members of Congress were willing to balance the budget on the backs of the most vulnerable populations with cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, education, and nutrition programs.
As Southeast Asian Americans and other communities across the nation continue to struggle during these difficult economic times, cutting essential programs that protect low-income families and individuals is the last thing that Congress should do. As additional budget debates continue, we must stand together to let Congress know that further deficit reduction plans cannot put the most economically vulnerable at further risk, and SEARAC will continue to defend programs that serve the needs of our communities.