Budget Cuts Dampen the Future of Many Coloradans

CO blog pictureBy Jesus Altamirano, Regional Field Coordinator, National Council of La Raza

Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D–Colo.) is committed to fighting for working families.  She reaffirmed this commitment on May 30 at a town hall hosted by Every Child Matters, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, and NCLR.

Town hall participants of all ages expressed their concern over the automatic budget cuts on March 1, 2013 known as sequestration.  The most compelling story that emerged came from a young woman named Daunitia Lewis.  She grew up in foster care.  “It is no exaggeration for me to say that the [Section 8] voucher and other foster youth services saved my life,” Daunitia said.

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Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV), is a federal program that provides rental assistance to very low-income families (i.e. families with incomes below 50 percent of area median income).  The HCV Program is funded by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, and administered by the Denver Housing Authority, will be reduced due to sequestration.  Boulder’s housing authority received notice of a 9% cut to their 2013 operations budget, a loss of about $557,000.  Daunitia, who will soon be a mother, looks to the future with a mixed sense of hope and concern—she knows there are programs meant to help her move forward with schooling, her career, and her child, yet she knows that due to the automatic spending cuts less individuals such as herself will receive necessary help.  All Americans deserve a fair and responsible long-term budget plan that grows the economy, invests in the future, and protects vulnerable people.

Rep. DeGette’s words are matched by her actions.  She is solidly on the side of working families, single parents, the elderly, students, and small business owners.  Most recently, she voted against the Budget Control Act of 2011, which established the automatic spending cuts that took effect on March 1, 2013. This is the type of leadership that’s needed in Congress.  Moving forward, we must not put low-income seniors and other vulnerable people at risk by using Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid as bargaining chips in budget negotiations.  It is critical that our elected officials fight to keep America moving forward by getting rid of the sequestration and putting families before politics.

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