H.R. 1 Severe Cuts Will Hurt Jobs and Vulnerable Populations: Oppose H.R. 1

Media 03.7,11

Recipient: U.S. Senate

Dear Senator:

On behalf of The Leadership
Conference on Civil and Human Rights, we urge you to oppose H.R. 1, the
Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act of 2011. We urge the Senate to pass a
continuing resolution through September 30, 2011 that helps the most vulnerable
Americans, while also ensuring that there is enough revenue to sustain our
country’s recovery and invest in the future. 

H.R.1 makes cuts that are
extreme and irresponsible, slashing or eliminating many services that are
needed by communities represented by The Leadership Conference, including
vulnerable and low-income people such as young children, students, older
people, the jobless, and the uninsured. With millions of families still hurt by unemployment
and reduced income, numerous economists have warned that the House cuts would
make things worse by slashing job training and education, infrastructure and
technological investments, emergency food and shelter, and home heating
assistance. At the same time, H.R. 1’s draconian cuts are not fairly balanced
by increases in revenue, such as the elimination of tax breaks for oil and gas
companies or the wealthiest Americans, that could be done without harming the
economic recovery. Finally, many of H.R. 1’s cuts appear driven more by
political ideology than a sincere interest in deficit reduction. 

For example, we are
particularly troubled by the following provisions of H.R. 1: 1

  • Head Start: H.R. 1 cuts more
    than $1 billion from the Head Start program, which provides comprehensive early
    childhood services – education, nutrition, health, social, and emotional
    development – to nearly one million low-income children and their families.
    This cut would eliminate these vital services for about 218,000 children and
    their families next year.

  • Pell Grants: H.R. 1 reduces
    the maximum annual Pell Grant award by $845 to $4,705, a 15 percent cut below
    the current maximum of $5,550. This would have a devastating impact on the
    roughly 8 million needy students that qualify for the maximum award, nearly 90
    percent of whom come from families making less than $40,000 a year. 

  • Consumer Protection: H.R. 1
    reduces the newly-formed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) funding
    – which, in this case, is not a Congressional appropriation – from $143 million
    to $80 million. The cut will hamstring the CFPB’s ability to enforce the
    consumer protection laws that were largely ignored by existing regulators in
    the years before the mortgage and financial crisis.

  • “Gainful Employment” Rule:
    H.R. 1 blocks the Department of Education from issuing or enforcing its
    proposed “gainful employment” rule, eliminating accountability for career
    colleges that educate 10 percent of higher education students, receive
    approximately 24 percent of federal grants and loans, and account for 48
    percent of defaults.

  • Repeal of Open Internet Rules:
    H.R. 1 repeals the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) Open Internet
    rules, including those that prevent the private blocking of constitutionally
    protected speech. This causes significant harm, particularly to the
    constituencies represented by our member organizations, and diverts attention
    from other critical media and telecommunications issues that are so vital to
    our nation’s economic and civic life. 

  • Health Services for Women and Girls: H.R. 1 prohibits any federal funding from being made available to
    Planned Parenthood Foundation of America, Inc. (PPFA), or any of its
    affiliates, for any health care services whatsoever for women and girls. This
    ideologically-driven attack on PPFA is unnecessary, as existing law already
    prohibits federal funding from being used to pay for abortions and will instead
    wipe out a range of other vital health care services.

  • Equal Access to Justice Fees:
    H.R. 1 prohibits any federal funds from being distributed under the Equal
    Access to Justice Act (EAJA). This will deprive people – including seniors,
    veterans, people with disabilities, small business owners and farmers – who
    cannot afford a lawyer from being represented against the federal government,
    when the government acts illegally against them.

For these and numerous other
reasons, we urge you to vote against H.R. 1. Thank you for your consideration.
If you have any questions, please contact Senior Counsel Rob Randhava at (202)


Wade Henderson
President & CEO

Nancy Zirkin
Executive Vice President

1 This is only a partial list of
cuts and restrictions in H.R. 1 that we find highly problematic.