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New Report Shows Illinoisans Would Suffer Under House Budget Plan

Tells Congress Best Approach to Reducing the Federal Deficit is to Protect Vulnerable Families, Promote Economic Recovery

Jennifer Becker Mouhcine, Chicago Jobs Council, (312) 252-0460 ext. 301;
Dan Lesser, Shriver Center on Poverty Law, (312) 368-2005;
Doug Schenkelberg, Heartland Alliance, (312) 296-0893;
Melissa Meighen, Voices for Illinois Children, (312) 516-5551;
Diane Doherty, Illinois Hunger Coalition, 312-629-9580 (office) 773-896-6269 (cell)

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- At a time when 588,800 Illinoisans are out of work, the U.S. House of Representatives’ approach to the federal budget fails those who are struggling most, according to a new report by the Coalition on Human Needs for the SAVE for All campaign.

The report draws a sharp contrast between the president’s budget for next fiscal year and the House plan for the remainder of this year, although it also notes serious concerns with elements of the president’s budget. It shows how the proposed budget cuts would both harm individuals and damage the country’s fragile economic recovery. 

Ultimately, the biggest deficit-reduction measure is an expanding economy, with more people working and paying taxes, according to the report, A Better Budget for All: Saving Our Economy and Helping Those in Need.

The Chicago Jobs Council, Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights, the Illinois Hunger Coalition, the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, and Voices for Illinois Children jointly released the report in Illinois in partnership with The Coalition on Human Needs to help launch the Strengthening America’s Values and Economy for All Campaign, or SAVE for All. SAVE for All is supported by more than 1,000 organizations across the country.

The report reviews the biggest differences in the two approaches to the federal budget, as well as the cuts with the largest effect on vulnerable people. The House plan includes the largest cuts, on an annualized basis, in domestic appropriations funding in history.

Tens of thousands of Illinoisans would suffer under the House plan for the rest of fiscal year 2011. Dan Lesser, Director, Economic Security, Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law said in response to the House plan, "The astounding magnitude of the budget cuts proposed by the U.S. House of Representatives is unprecedented and, if adopted, would not only hurt the economy and drive up the unemployment rate, but even worse would fundamentally alter the social fabric and betray the fundamental American values of fair play and offering a helping hand to those in need."

The report also analyzes current proposals for changing the federal budget process, pointing out that all of them share a common flaw: they reject revenue increases as part of a balanced solution for reducing the federal deficit and debt. The report calls on Congress to look at the entire federal budget -- including revenues, tax loopholes, and military spending -- not just domestic annual appropriations.

“Cutting only from a portion of domestic spending that constitutes less than a fifth of our total budget simply cannot solve our federal deficit and debt, but it will cause enormous pain and cripple our economic future,” said Deborah Weinstein, executive director of the Coalition on Human Needs, an alliance of national organizations that promotes public policies to address the needs of low-income and other vulnerable populations.

Here’s a sampling of what the House plan would mean for Illinois:

  • 5,575 young children would not be able to receive Head Start services and 438 Head Start jobs would be lost;
  • 36,664 poor children will lose or have reduced extra academic support and 284 jobs providing that support would be lost;
  • 3,633 children would lose or have reduced after-school programs, and 40 after-school jobs would be lost;
  • 146,828 thousand  patients would lose health care they would have received at Community Health Centers over the next year; 4 health center sites would have to close and 263 jobs would be lost;
  • 392,000 low-income Illinois college students would lose some or all of their Pell Grants;
  • 46,603 thousand  low income Illinois college students would lose some or all of their Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants;
  • 137,300 adults, 22,900 dislocated workers and 13,050 youth in Illinois would lose job training and employment services. Job training under the Workforce Investment Act would essentially be shut down until July 2012;
  • 2638 low income Illinoisans, mostly seniors and some children, would lose food packages;
  • Poor households in federal public housing (two-thirds of which are elderly or have a disability) would see maintenance and repairs on their apartments deteriorate due to a $78.3 million cut in Illinois’ Public Housing Capital Fund;
  • Illinois will lose $117.7 million that it could have used for a wide range of community development projects; and
  • The majority of the approximately 250 households of people with significant and long-term disabilities in Illinois receiving rental assistance will lose their vouchers and are at risk of losing their home because of the 70 percent cut to the Section 811 housing voucher program.

"If enacted, these cuts will only undermine Illinois' ability to meet its goal of cutting extreme poverty in half by 2015, as addressed by the Commission on the Elimination of Poverty," said Doug Schenkelberg, Associate Director of Policy and Advocacy at Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights.

The report calls for any deficit reduction plan to:

  • Make major steps towards deficit reduction gradual and long-term, because the solutions will be much easier and the resulting pain much less severe if the economy is stronger; 
  • Not rely primarily on cuts in domestic appropriations, which are not the cause of the ballooning federal deficit;
  • Include equitable revenue increases;
  • Reduce wasteful spending;
  • Protect low-income people from harm. 

 “Deep cuts in vital education, health and human services are harmful to kids and families – and they’re detrimental to our economic recovery,” said Kathy Ryg, president of Voices for Illinois Children.  “The cuts proposed by the U.S. House would erode children’s opportunities for success in school today and in the workforce tomorrow.  Many of the cuts would very quickly eliminate parents’ jobs and job supports, sending unemployment back in the wrong direction.  Illinoisans need a better-balanced approach to reducing our national deficit and getting back on course to recovery.”

To read the complete report, click here or visit

The Chicago Jobs Council is a 29-year old policy and advocacy organization that works with its members to ensure access to employment and career advancement opportunities for people living in poverty. For more information, visit

Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights helps people who are threatened the most by poverty or danger improve their lives and realize their human rights. For more than 120 years we have been providing solutions—both through services and advocacy—creating paths from crisis to stability and on to success. Our work in housing, health care, legal protections, and economic security supports more than 600,000 people annually, helping them build a better future.

The Illinois Hunger Coalition is a membership organization that seeks to alleviate and end hunger in Illinois through public education, community organizing, and advocating for progressive public policies.

Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law provides national leadership in efforts identifying, developing, and supporting creative and collaborative approaches to social and economic justice for low-income people. The Shriver Center fulfills its legal advocacy and policy development through a comprehensive set of initiatives, including representing low-income people on a variety of issues that affect their social and economic well-being and managing communications and access to poverty law strategies and policy-related information.

Voices for Illinois Children is a champion for the full development of every child in the state, working with families, communities and policymakers on child-related issues. For more than 20 years, Voices has united community leaders and people who care passionately about children into a statewide network. Voices educates opinion leaders and policymakers about issues facing children and families.

The Coalition on Human Needs (CHN) is an alliance of national organizations working together to promote public policies which address the needs of low-income and other vulnerable populations. The Coalition conducts analyses of federal budget proposals and policies to determine their impact on people in need. The Coalition's members include civil rights, religious, labor and professional organizations and those concerned with the well being of children, women, the elderly and people with disabilities. CHN is located at 1120 Connecticut Ave. NW Suite 312, Washington, D.C. 20036.  For more information please visit

The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law provides national leadership in advancing laws and policies that secure justice to improve the lives and opportunities of people living in poverty. We specialize in practical solutions. We advocate for and serve clients directly, while also building the capacity of the nation’s legal aid providers to advance justice and opportunity for their clients.

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