FRAC Analysis of FY2011 Republican House Proposal

There are two fiscal year budgets in the news this week. On Monday, President Obama released his budget proposal for Fiscal Year (FY) 2012. This budget proposal would fund the fiscal year that starts on October 1, 2011 and ends on September 30, 2012. Click here for FRAC’s statement and outline of the President’s FY2012 budget.

This week, however, the House of Representatives is moving forward to pass a budget for the federal government for the seven months remaining in FY2011 (through September 30, 2011). House Republican leaders currently propose to cut spending by more than $65 billion for that time period. The current Continuing Resolution expires on March 4th, but it is not expected that the House, Senate, and the President can finish for FY2011 by then. Negotiations are under way to provide a short-term measure to continue uninterrupted government spending until a final proposal can be hashed out. Advocates have opportunities in the coming weeks to weigh in and support anti-hunger and human needs programs.

The Continuing Resolution process essentially concerns only discretionary spending programs, not entitlement and mandatory programs. Since most of the large nutrition programs (SNAP, school lunch and breakfast, child care food, afterschool and summer food) are entitlements – the exception is WIC – they are not targeted in the Republican proposal.

The proposed House Continuing Resolution for FY2011, as released by House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rodgers (R-Ky.), makes the following cuts to nutrition programs (comparisons are to levels that the existing FY2011 Continuing Resolution, which expires on March 4th, planned to maintain):

  • Funds WIC at $6.504 billion, a cut of $747.2 million. While the $6.504 billion funding level is likely to be adequate, it leaves very little room over the next seven months for possible bigger than expected increases in food prices or demand for services. In addition, this funding level precludes the enhancement of the fruit and vegetables benefits for children.
  • Funds the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) at $151.4 million, a cut of $20 million from the FY2011 funding level of $171.4 million. As the reduction will need to be absorbed in a seven-month period, CSFP caseloads will need to be reduced significantly (amount of reductions not known at this point) and the six newly approved states (Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Maryland, Massachusetts and Rhode Island) will not be able to commence CSFP operations.
  • Maintains TEFAP Administration (distribution/storage) funding at $49.5 million.
  • Zeros out the Congressional Hunger Center ($3 million cut).
  • Zeros out Hunger Free Communities grants ($5 million cut).
  • Zeros out TEFAP infrastructure grants ($6 million cut).
  • Zeros out community gardens ($1 million cut).
  • Funds Nutrition Programs Administration at $144.8 million ($3 million cut).
  • Reduced funding for the FEMA Emergency Food and Shelter Program by 50 percent ($100 million cut).

Some of the most damaging cuts for low-income people in the Republican proposal come outside the nutrition programs. Among the cuts in the House Republican FY2011 blueprint are:

  • $1 billion from Head Start (15 percent cut).
  • Reduced funding for the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) by $405 million.
  • Reduced funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP) contingency fund by 66 percent ($390 million cut).

FRAC is deeply concerned about the cuts proposed for FY 2011, and will be working with our national partners to prevent cuts to low-income assistance programs – especially as tens of millions of Americans continue to struggle with food insecurity, hunger, unemployment, and wages and hours of work that are inadequate to support families. To address the extremely serious budget and fiscal policy challenges that lie ahead, the Coalition on Human Needs (CHN) has launched the SAVE for All (Strengthening America’s Values and Economy for All) Campaign. You can learn more about the SAVE for All Campaign by visiting CHN’s website.