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Press release
January 20, 2018

Congress and the President Fail the Nation and Leave Our Children’s Health Hanging in the Balance

PRESS RELEASE
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                            CONTACT: Annette Raveneau
Saturday, January 20, 2018                                                                                                 (202) 626-0611
                                                                                                                             Press@FamiliesUSA.org
 

Congress and the President Fail the Nation and Leave Our Children’s Health Hanging in the Balance

Washington, D.C. – Despite Republican control of the Senate, House, and White House, late last night, Congress and the Trump administration could not reach agreement and chose to shut down the U.S. government. Instead of putting the needs of America's families first, they are playing power games regarding not only the government shutdown but the future of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), funding for community health centers, and the safety and future of Dreamers.  All three of these are areas of bipartisan agreement. Moreover, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) finds that the legislation funding CHIP would actually end-up saving the nation $6 billion over 10 years.

Following is the statement of Frederick Isasi, executive director of Families USA:

“Today, the anxiety of hard-working families across America continues to grow. Will their children lose health coverage because of the refusal of Congress and the Trump administration to extend funding for their children’s health care? Now the government is actually shutting down and no action has been taken. Holding children’s health care ransom for partisan gain is not only shameful but un-American.

“We’ve been working across the aisle to extend CHIP funding for 18 months or more and funding for CHIP expired more than 100 days ago. Republicans – who control the House, Senate and the White House – have no reason not to have extended funding for this important, popular, and bipartisan program. The fact that the CBO has found that a 10-year CHIP funding extension would actually save the nation $6 billion, underscores how easy it would be for Congress to act and the level of cynical brinksmanship at play on the part of the president and Congress.

“By allowing the federal government to shut down, Congress and President Trump also are refusing to take care of the unfinished business of funding community health centers, the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program, and for services delivered through the Indian Health Service to American Indians and Alaska Natives – all of which enjoy strong bipartisan support but continue to languish because of inaction on the part of the president and Congress. 

“Congress and the White House should stop playing politics with the lives of immigrant children and young adults who grew up in the United States and who now fear losing protected status and facing the risk of deportation. President Trump ended DACA and demanded Congress legislate this issue. A carefully negotiated, bipartisan deal was reached and despite assurances to the contrary, President Trump walked away from the agreement. As both parties have recognized, these young Dreamers are part of the fabric of our nation. They deserve permanent status. It is up to Congress to restore DACA and undo the damage caused by President Trump.

“Our nation's core values are threatened by the shutdown and by the expiration of universally supported basic health funding. This Congress and President Trump need to end the brinksmanship and get to work.”

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Families USA, a leading national voice for health care consumers, is dedicated to the achievement of high-quality, affordable health care and improved health for all.