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Federal Automatic Spending Cuts Threaten Early Childhood Programs

September 20, 2012
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Under the current scenario pending in Washington D.C., a series of automatic spending cuts are slated to take effect next year that will have a devastating impact on early childhood programs, according to a report from the federal Office of Management and Budget.

Known as "sequestration," the cuts are part of the deal reached last year by Congress and President Obama to raise the debt ceiling after lawmakers failed to cut federal spending by more than $1 trillion over 10 years.

The report, released Sept. 14, does not have exact numbers for every program that will be affected; however, it does illustrate some significant cuts to programs that impact young children and their families in Los Angeles County.

Other programs that face significant cuts under sequestration, mentioned as part of the broader "children and families services" line item in the OMB report, include Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and Head Start, which provide preschool to low-income children and those with disabilities. According to a report released by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) in July, those two programs could lose $26 million and $621 million, respectively, under sequestration.

Both political parties are seeking ways to avoid the cuts, though no resolution is expected before the November election. For more information, contact First 5 LA Policy Analyst Josh Kruskol at

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