Bipartisan children's caucus prepares for supercommittee

The bipartisan House Congressional Children's Caucus will kick off its activities for this session of Congress next month, days before the deficit supercommittee is due to start weighing deep cuts to the nation's healthcare programs.

Advocates expect it to protect Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program, which could bear the brunt of the cuts proposed by the supercommittee created by legislation to increase the debt ceiling. If the supercommittee can't identify at least $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction before Thanksgiving, a trigger would automatically cut Medicare payments by 2 percent while leaving Medicaid unscathed.

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"This year our goal is to invigorate the Children's Caucus by increasing membership and visibility in an effort to become an even stronger voice for children," caucus leaders Donald Manzullo (R-Ill.) and Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) wrote to their colleagues on Wednesday. "We are planning a series of bipartisan events that will highlight some of the current issues impacting children today.

"Ensuring that children have a voice on Capitol Hill and receive the proper consideration during the lawmaking process is a nonpartisan effort," the letter continued. "We all want the best for our children."